It’s been a while since I’ve edited the first draft of a manuscript, and it’s tougher than I remember. I opened the document, and without even looking at the words I thought, “My novel is so raw.”
I only have to edit a minimum of 1800 words a day to meet my first round of editing goal, and while I hadn’t said my novel sucks, or my novel is poorly written, it’s like I had. Suddenly this task was daunting even though I’ve been in a constant state of editing for years now.
In the land of editing, and revising, and rewriting, a story truly shines. But it takes a lot of work to get to that magic publishable land, and that journey alone was so overwhelming that it took me four hours, three location changes, and two cups of coffee, before I was able to get past page one.
I knew if I could get passed that first set of pages everything else would be cake, but I had to keep pressing forward and ignore that voice telling me to go home and re-watch Romy and Michelle. You’ll feel better, that voice coos. You deserve Cheetos for even trying. That voice is a deceiving bitch!
Things I try when I’m in an editing funk:
- Completely skip the first page. It’s cluster-effing your mind, and you don’t have to take it.
- Tackle the easy stuff first. Sometimes it’s easier to hit all those red and green squiggly lines first. Those changes can be the little progress you need to get the ball rolling.
- Reread your chapter. If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your work, you might be thinking your writing is so horrible you don’t know how to start. Chances are your MS is not as bad as you remember. And even if it is, reading the chapter all the way through will, at the very least, help you get your bearings.
- Read your chapter aloud. I prefer to do this from the privacy of my own home, but if you can monologue your shit in front of strangers without disturbing the peace then… you’re really brave, but I can’t stand next to you.
- Start at the End. Once I started edit a book from back to front. Chapter one was too much for me to handle, and the last chapter was fresher in my mind. Plus, the end of my book tends to get less attention than the first two-thirds of my manuscript because toward the end I just want to get it over with.
Number one ended up working for me yesterday, and now that I’m over that hump, editing has been a breeze!
Just kidding!!! Editing is hard. But seriously, it’s a lot easier when I try these steps to get over the rough patches.
So what do you do to get yourself out of an editing slump?