You diligently edit a chapter you've written, cleaning it up and making it better. Sometimes it goes well – one, two, three, four changes. A move of a paragraph, a grammar check and the addition of some dialogue. Satisfied, you move on.

But sometimes, it doesn't go well. You make it worse. By fixing the grammar in several paragraphs, you've messed up the tense or the POV of the entire chapter. Or your supposed grammar corrections are grammatically worse than the originals. Maybe you add too much and make it too wordy, or you delete key things to be concise, things that really should have remained. You make it messier.

Two days later, you go back and – low and behold – you hate each and every edit that you did. And now you have a different type of mess. It doesn't speak in the same manner as before. It's not as strong. Or maybe you've screwed up a plot point. Maybe you did fix the grammar, but it's cumbersome in its strictness and doesn't read well.

On and on. It's so difficult to find the right balance in editing. In cleaning up your mess, you can make it worse.

Any advice on this conundrum? What if, after five different passes, you dang well like how a certain paragraph is "passive?" What if you can't stand the comma prompt your grammar checker presses upon you, even after giving it a shot? It's true, changing the paragraph to active and succumbing to the comma quiets the literary rules of engagement, but what do you do when it leaves you stewing in your juices, feeling it was better before, or at least better without such a major 'correction?'

Read:  I can never seem to get past the beginning

It's frustrating.

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