How to Survive Editing Your Manuscript

by | 10 August 2018 | Writing | 18 comments

Editing other peoples’ manuscripts is really fun. I love helping them out. I love reading their stories. I love suggesting ways to make the story better and greater and more amazing than ever.

When it comes to editing my own books…it’s a whole lot harder.


Four months of this year have already been dedicated to editing, and guess what? For the next three months, my plan is pretty much the same. Editing, editing, editing. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it. 😯

Over the last week, I’ve been brainstorming away on revisions and new ideas for how to strengthen my story and over and over again this thought keeps popping up: “I don’t want to edit this all over again. I’ve edited it so much already. Can’t it just be good enough now??”

I know that it’s not good enough yet, and I know that more edits will make it improve, but those moments just keep coming and I just want to forget about edits for a hundred years or two.

So I’ve got some survival tips for all my fellow writers who are trying to get through edits (but mostly for myself, actually 😛 ). We’re going to conquer this!


1: Don’t be afraid to relax

It’s tempting to try and pound through the edits as fast as possible and just get them over and done with, but it’s not always the best. It’s okay to chill out and take your time. It’s not a race. It’s not a competition.

Have a day off sometimes. Don’t think about your novel every single minute of the day. It’s not going to explode if you take your time. 😉


2: Plot bunnies aren’t always your enemy

While plot bunnies can be dangerous things, they can be a useful relief from the woes and struggles of edits. Something new to think about when you’re feeling tired of looking at the same story for months on end.

New story ideas shouldn’t distract from editing, but they can help keep your creativity alive and excited.


3: Deadlines and schedules are your friends

While relaxing is good, don’t relax so much that you don’t actually get anything done.

I’m not a fan of scheduling my life into do-lists and timetables, but planning out my month fairly loosely has been an absolute lifesaver. I’ve set two week deadlines on my brainstorming. Another two weeks to finish up planning and re-outlining, so I’m ready to plunge into the actual writing part of the edits. Without those deadlines…I would probably take it so easy that I reached the end of the month and realised that I’d done absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Except for maybe drink a lot of chai and think of those new story ideas. 😛


4: Read books! Watch movies! Go on adventures!

It’s just as important to stay motivated and inspired when editing as it is when writing. Don’t coop yourself up indoors, at your computer. Go for a walk outside. Read books and watch movies that inspire you and make you excited to tell your own stories.


5: Remember the end goal

If you’re working to get your book published—don’t forget it. It’s okay to dream a bit about what it’ll look like in bookstores and in your readers’ hands. Then use that excitement to go back to editing with even more enthusiasm and purpose.


I will admit, that this post is just as much for myself as for anyone else. Editing has ups and downs just like everything else, but I’m still enjoying it. Telling a story well means a lot of hard work and editing, but it also is worth it in the end if we’ll just keep on editing away for as long as it takes. 😉


Your turn! Have you ever edited one of your novels? Are you more of a strict schedules person, or a relaxed chill style? What movies/books inspire you?

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. J.A.Penrose

    Goodness. *notes this post away for future reference*

    Hang in there Jane!

    • Jane Maree

      I hope this can help you in your time of dire need. 😛

      Haha, I’m doing my best!

  2. Aposhipolepo

    Sure sounds as though editing is hard!
    You certainly made a good point about taking breaks to relax on such extensive projects. While I have never had to edit anything to nearly this level, I know it certainly is not easy to rewrite something over and over.
    By the way, I do not know if you are taking offers for beta-reading, but I would be most happy to help if I can.

    • Jane Maree

      It definitely has it’s challenges!

      Taking breaks is sooo important. My brain would probably explode if I didn’t relax every now and then. 😛

      Ah, thanks for the offer! I’m still working out details about beta readers, but we’ll see. 😉

      • Brie Donning

        He’s a good beta reader.

        • Jane Maree

          He must have good experience, haha. 😛

  3. Lila Kims

    This post is very relevant for me right now, considering that I just started editing my novel a few days ago! Awesome tips – I shall keep them in mind! 😀

    • Jane Maree

      Woohoo! That’s so exciting. Edits can be super challenging, but never lose sight of the end goal!

      I hope your editing goes awesomely. You’ll have to keep me updated and we can make sure we both stay on track with our edits. 😉

  4. Chelsea R.H.

    I just finished editing my novel (and survived yay!!) and now I’m getting beta feedback.
    So far, two of my betas have sent in, between them, 12,000+ words of advice.
    Which is slightly overwhelming.
    So this is a great and timely post. Thank you 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      Woohoo!! Awesome job!

      Haha my gosh, that’s terrifying. XD The next step–sorting through all their suggestions–is another super duper hard stage, so hang in there! So exciting that you’ve gotten this far, girl! 😀

      I’m so glad it came just in time for you. 😉 (that’s my ninja skills showing 😛 )

    • Jane Maree

      Congratulations for getting to editing! 🙂 I hope they go super well!

      Aw, thank you. I’ll go check it out. 😉

  5. Jenna

    Oh my I needed these tips so bad! Editing is definitely not my favorite thing, but I’m going to keep your advice in mind next time I edit. Thanks! 😉👍

    • Jane Maree

      Aw, well I hope this can help your next edits go super well! You’ve got this. 😀

  6. Brie Donning

    Editing other’s people work is much easier. I’ve been doing both recently. (technically only a copy edit or proofread, which is easier again.)

    My editing seems to consist of large bits of new writing to fill in holes, and changing my character’s attitude and perception in the parts I’m keeping. And it turns out writer’s block come just as much in the rewrites as in drafts. Maybe more so, due to the increased pressure.

    • Jane Maree

      So. Much. Easier. xD Copyediting is the easiest! Definitely agreed on that one. 😛

      Writers block will pop up anywhere it possibly can–unfortunately. But we can overcome it! 😉

  7. MiddleEarthMusician

    JANE THESE WERE AMAZING TIPS!!! I NEEDED THESE. I’m about to start editing M:M and am a little scared about it….SO THANK YOU!!!

    • Jane Maree

      Aww, I’m so glad! I hope it helps you with all the editing. 😀

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