There was a time when it was standard to put two space characters after each sentence before beginning the next. This was how I was taught to type, and I’m only in my early-40s. However, this is no longer the practice. The introduction of modern typesetting and justification algorithms mean that two spaces can result in gaps that are too large between sentences. Industry professionals now specify that we use only one space between sentences.
Retraining the brain to do this has taken me many long years, but there is a simple solution that will work every time, even when you forget. Run a search-and-replace, hunting out all the places where you use two space characters, and replace them with only one space character. All word-processing programs have the search-and-replace feature, so why not use it. (I do this as a matter of habit before I send a manuscript out the door.)
Every time you take a little break from your writing, even a toileting break, when you sit down again, reread what you had just written (at least the last paragraph). If there are any obvious, glaring errors that you can’t resist the urge to edit, then do so, but don’t dwell on them. Rereading your work during initial drafting is not for editing purposes, but rather to help you get back into the train of thought so you can carry on writing.
There are days when we fell so run down that we can hardly focus. There are days when our minds keep drifting to the latest episode of our favorite TV show. Sometimes we want to curl up in a nice, warm blanket and just read. That’s okay. Just because you didn’t write doesn’t mean that you weren’t working on your stories. Sometimes, you need to do something else while your brain mulls around with the pieces, trying to make up the puzzle. Give yourself permission to not write occasionally. Remember that just because you’re not typing new words into that computer file doesn’t mean that you’re not writing. Inspiration can strike in odd ways.
The first step of editing a new manuscript is to walk away from your manuscript. Seriously. If you have just finished writing that manuscript, you need to give yourself some distance so you can look at it objectively. The more time you have up your sleeve to put that manuscript in that metaphorical drawer the better. Distance is the key to good editing.
Many writers are now using email lists. It’s a great way to spread the word about your work, simply because you get into the inbox of your fans. However, there are legal requirements involved with using an email list. In the US, you have CAN-SPAM. In Canada, you have CASL. In Australia, you have the Spam Act of 2003. You are subject to the laws in your home country, hence, you need to ensure that you know exactly what your legal requirements are.
Not everyone can find local writers who are willing to critique their work for a variety of different reasons. Some struggle to get critiques back within a timely fashion. One possible solution is to join a critiquing site such as Scribophile or Critique Circle. Both sites have literally thousands of writers on the sites, all willing to look at different manuscripts at the various stages of development. Critiques will range from extremely helpful to the vague, depending on the skill of the critiquer, but when you are in desperate need of feedback of that scene not working, this is just one option.
There are many out there who believe that they should have a blog because they are a writer seeking to be published. When used correctly, blogging can be a wonderful marketing tool; however, readers don’t want to read something on a blog that you halfheartedly put together. You should never blog just because others told you that you should. The only thing that will achieve is a sense of resentment and failure when you don’t meet your blogging objective. If you are blogging because you feel you need to as a writer, then you should really do some homework. There are plenty of successful writers out there who don’t have blogs, and there are plenty of nameless writers who have been blogging for years and still haven’t gotten anywhere.
Don’t blog because you think you have to; blog because you want to.
There is only so much editing that a writer can do without seeking the opinions of others. Eventually, you will need to share your writing, but not with your family. Let’s face it, your family wants to support you, but unless they’re writers themselves, they’ll never understand. Instead, they’ll lie, tell you that your manuscript is perfect. They won’t be able to give you the help you really need. Critique partners NEED to be other writers, people not afraid to tell you that your writing is not working and potentially help you edit that rough draft into a masterpiece.
Get used to the idea now. Just like your writing, not everyone is going to be happy with your website. There will always be those who find something to nit-pick about. If you try to create the perfect website, you’ll go insane. Accept it and move on.