Stalled in Your Editing? I Know How You Feel by Beth Barany

The other day I was sharing with my community of other creative entrepreneurs about how I was feeling stuck about getting into my editing, partly because that meant turning my back on the world like Miles Davis did when he performed, and going into the dark cave of creativity.

It also means stepping away from the business development planning that I’m in the middle of, getting ready for 2021, and daydreaming that future.

One friend asked me what would I tell one of my clients who are in this situation — the situation of not being able to get to their editing, and feeling torn between their book and work helping others.

The answer came right to mind.

The answer was, and is, to reconnect with my WHY.
— Why am I writing this book?
— Why is it important to me?
— Why is it important to the greater society?
— And really what am I really trying to say?

As I sink into these answers, I feel frustrated, at a loss, confused, and muddled.

  • What’s really coming up for me is who am I to be addressing these issues?
  • Who am I to be addressing the issues of the haves and the have nots?
  • And what am I really trying to say in this book? (Yes, this again.)

All these questions give me a way into my book.

One of these questions has already sparked a next step for me. And that is all I really need to get moving.

I personally love the question about what am I really trying to say in this book.

Maybe what I think I’m trying to say is not actually what is going on. And this points to what’s going on under the surface, in my subconscious.

This question invites me to pull some cards from my favorite muse deck these days: the MYTHULU card deck. (Link:

I’ll do it right now. While you’re watching LOL 🙂

What does this book want to say?

This is a more powerful question and one that I got from Mark David Gerson, another writing teacher.

I also did this exercise earlier in the year: “Talk To Your Book: An Intuitive Approach”:

I’m inspired to pull 3 cards and each card will allow me to brainstorm different aspects of what this book is really trying to say to me.

Card #1:Man and maker: Maker transforms a raw useless thing into something extraordinary. Makers relationship with creation reveals narcissism or humility.”

— What this card tells me is I need to do the work of transforming my book into the next thing, that thinking about it is actually not going to help me discover the answer. I actually need to edit the book. (D’uh, right?)

This book also invites me to do the hard work of deleting the things that are slowing the story down and honing in on the core points.

One of my challenges right now is the realization that my precious words need to be deleted.

I have worked so hard to get the book to this level, only to realize that I need to cut some things.

Luckily I have a “cuts” file. So all that I will cut will be there, if I ever need it again.

Card #2: “Klepto. Steals for the fun of it. Compulsive, even when they don’t need or want what they’re taking.”

— OMG. I can relate. But how does this relate to my book specifically?

Well, as it turns out this book is about a heist. This actually gives me some insight into one of my villains and reminds me to hone in on their motivation, and maybe do some more back story notes on them, and work out how one of my villains got involved with the second villain.

Yep, I have three villains in this story who all work together to make the heist happen. This is one of the challenges of the book. I have three villains and the stakes are high.

The story opens with one of my main character’s coworkers dead because of the heist. And that is only the first death of several in this book.

Reminder: I am writing murder mysteries.

This reminds me that this book has higher stakes and is more complicated than the first two, so it makes sense that it would be more challenging.

Why would I want it to be the same as the first two?

Of course I would make it harder! That’s what we do 🙂

Even though much of the writing and editing process has gotten easier over the years — this is my 15th book — editing is still a challenge.

This time around, it looks like my lesson is really about managing my expectations and reminding myself that it is a challenge, and that’s what I signed up for.

That’s one of the things I love about being a novelist — it’s always a complex problem to solve on many level: logical and emotional.

Dealing with human nature is always messy.

Card #3: “Scar: physical manifestation of resilience. Hints at how something has been spent.”

— Interesting. This makes me think about the scars each of my characters and how scars are often hidden from others.

This idea invites me to brainstorm on the scars each of my characters, how they hide them, why they hide them, or maybe they don’t hide them and carry their scars proudly.

I’m actually excited to explore this in backstory notes. The notion of scars adds another dimension to all my players, especially to my main character and the important secondary character.

There you go.

I just illustrated for you how I get unstuck and excited again about the editing process. With this brainstorm I just explored, I now have some things to focus on when I sit down to edit and revise Gone Green, out next spring.

Learning Your Internal Processes

A big part in learning how to edit your own novels is learning your internal processes for getting unstuck.

We help authors do this in our group coaching program, which is a 12 month program with rolling enrollment.

We offer a customized experience for you, that includes the Edit Your Novel course and monthly calls to come together as a community and get discerning individualized support in an intimate community of dedicated novelists.

We are running an early enrollment bonus right now in advance of 2021.

The bonuses comes with a lot of extras, including having me look at your manuscript and discuss it with you.

If you’re interested in joining our program, hop over here

Here’s the handy link directly to the bonuses on the same page:

One More Resource: We Are All Works In Progress

I want to leave you with one more resource: my article on how we are all works in progress. I include an exercise in there to help you reconnect with your WHY.


Comment and let me know your WHY. I’d love to hear.


Talk to a writing coach

Ready to explore the group program and if it’s a fit for you?

Then schedule a chat with me here:

I look forward to connecting with you.

About Beth Barany

BETH BARANY, CREATIVITY COACH FOR WRITERSA Master NLP Practitioner and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth runs Barany School of Fiction, a full suite of courses designed to help genre fiction writers experience clarity and get writing, so they can revise and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.

Based in Oakland, California, Beth Barany has presented at Ithra Center (King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, at Romance Writers of America National Conference, at Emerald City Conference in Seattle, Washington, at the San Francisco Writers Conference, and at San Francisco Bay Area chapters of SCBWI, CWC, and RWA.

Award-winning novelist, Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.

She is the award-winning author of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, the acclaimed paranormal romance author of the Touchstone series, and is proud to release her newest novels, science fiction mysteries about Janey McCallister space station investigator.

The first book in the series, Into The Black, is a Page Turner Awards Finalist, and as a result, won an audiobook publishing contract.

She has also written books for writers, including Plan Your Novel Like A Pro, co-written with her husband, thriller writer Ezra Barany.


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