Enjoy editing

by - February 17, 2012

Generally I enjoy the editing part of writing. It’s a chance to correct mistakes, to flesh out characters, to add the missing nuances. Editing allows the critical, analytical left brain to take over and fashion something solid and meaningful out of the messy first draft that the creative right brain has produced. I like editing, but it feels as if I’ve been mired in editing for weeks now, and it’s a bit like eating your favourite meal five nights in a row. After a while you just want a change.

I’ve been working on edits for my steampunk novella coming out in June, Asher’s Invention. They’ve been relatively straightforward. But I’ve also been editing the sequel to Asher’s Invention and trying to make it as near to perfect as I can before I submit it. As well, I’m working on a third manuscript after a revise and resubmit. So I’ve been in editing mode for many weeks and feeling the pinch. What can I do to stop it feeling like a chore?

1. Don’t put pressure on myself. Unless my editor needs work returned by a certain date, don’t put a deadline on finishing my editing.

2. Do something else writing-related. I’ve started planning a new book. I don’t know if that’s what I’ll write next, but it’s giving my right brain a workout. I’ve also written a book review and a guest blog post. And I’m currently halfway through a great writing course which is giving me lots of food for thought about my edits.

3. Do editing in small blocks of time. Work on the edits for 2 hours then step away from the computer and don’t even think about writing.

Looking at the points above, I think No 1 is the most important. I’m constantly reading about how authors should be putting out a new title every 4 to 6 months for maximum exposure. I read about prolific writers like Maya Banks who last year wrote 8 to 10 books and professes to be a one draft writer who hates doing detailed plotting, and Rachel Aaron who increased her daily word count from 2K to 10K, and it's easy to feel I'm not pulling my weight.

On the other hand this post at The Creative Penn suggests writing fast is overrated. The comments on this post prove that every writer is different, and so am I. I’d like to write faster, and I’m still going to aim to improve my daily word count, but not at the expense of enjoying the whole experience.

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  1. I know what you mean about stressing that you're not doing enough. I read that 10k a day post, had a coronary and then CRIED!!!! Just do your best and only race against yourself I reckon :)

  2. Good to know I'm not the only one daunted by that post. The thing about editing is that your daily wordcount doesn't increase by all that much, but the quality of the story (usually) improves immeasurably.

  3. If I tried to write 10k in a day, it would be rubbish, and it would take me two weeks to edit it into something workable! You're right, we all write differently. I doubt I could ever write more than 2-3 books in a year, unless I wanted quality to slip. Writers like Nora Roberts astound me.

    As for the editing, I'm stuck in that zone too! Been doing a hard edit on my wip for the past few weeks, and I think my changes are getting less and less interesting. Need to write again, swirl up the pool of creativity, before I switch back to making comments as an editor :)

  4. @Madeline, I see you're doing Shirley Jump's course From Good to Sold. I did it a while back and Shirley was such a fantastic teacher. I especially appreciated her critiques of everyone's writing :)