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?