How I Edit

Editing is always a strange and foreign topic to me. Especially since I'm using dictation, editing is usually an adventure filled with typos and strange phrases that I have no idea what they actually mean. (I have found some truly strange words in my manuscript that I am at thousand percent sure I did not actually say and then I have to awkwardly sound them out to see if I can figure out what I meant.)

But this post isn't about easy ways to edit or even what to look for when you're editing. Much like the previous post about finding your process for writing, This is about finding your process for editing. They are different things and I really believe that it's best if you can keep them as separate as possible.

Again, I did a lot of experimenting to figure out what works for me. Editing in my closet did not work for me. The setup isn't good for that. What does work for me is going back into my office. The background noise doesn't distract me from editing like it does for writing. I also have found that I can listen to a little bit of music, nothing with words, while I'm editing.

I'm lucky enough to have a standing sitting desk and I really noticed that I edit a lot better when I'm standing at it so now I try to make sure to do that when I can. Sometimes my feet don't want any part of that and I have to sit but I definitely feel like I am faster and sharper when I'm standing at my desk.

I'm also learned that for me, it's a lot easier to take editing in a lot of small steps than one big step. The first thing I do is read through the whole manuscript and make notes and comments about what needs to change. I don't really touch much of the grammar unless there's just something to atrocious to fix.

Then I look at all of the comments, sometimes I print out just the comments and see what all I need to work on. I coordinate my edit projects by theme. So if it's a subplot that week, I going work on the subplot all by itself don't touch anything else in the manuscript. This means I jump around from beginning to middle to end again and again and again but it also means that I can stay focused on the one task at hand and not get sidetracked by trying to fix the romantic subplot and the foreshadowing for the next book all at once.

Once I've finished all of my themes/subplots/big issues, then I'll do one more big read where I check to make sure everything so make sense and try to catch any grammar issues that might be around. It's maybe a little bit slower and clunkier than I can do all of the time but it's my preferred method. Deadlines sometimes push that to be just one really fast read through and edit.

So again I would just encourage you to try and figure out where you work best. For me really having a separate writing and editing space makes a huge difference. It's like a brain switch, I know when I am standing at my desk that it's time to edit, not write, and not be on Facebook. It's a clear delineation in my mind of what I need to be working on.

So take some time and figure out what you like, I promise I'll make a huge difference in your work.