Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Editing: Don't Freak Out

So just a little heads-up in case you didn't notice the title (*coughs and points*): my schedule will still follow the same thing you see on the side of the page (under the snazzy little group of letters that says 'Schedule'), but I'm not going to keep writing the titles.

For the last few months (even longer, actually) a good friend of mine has been editing and re-editing and re-editing her book, sending it out to agents, editing again, and so forth. And this week she's been stressing out as a new round of edits started. Every time I see that this is happening, I comment on her posts or message her/wait until she messages me, and I realized that I give her the same advice every time, and I think it's advice everybody needs to hear multiple times throughout their lives:


Seriously. Just chill. Editing is overwhelming. It's critically looking at every aspect of your novel that you've spent months, or even years, perfecting. It's tearing the plot apart, re-describing the setting, analyzing every situation your characters get themselves into, adding words, deleting words, changing words, and ultimately making yourself question every decision you've ever made in your life that has led you to this point.

Breathe. In, out, in, out. Your brain won't function properly without oxygen so don't deprive it.

Editing is like writing. Only it's entirely different. Hear me out.

When you've been writing too long and get a headache, or your sentences stop making sense, or you try to spell the word 'the' five different times without ever getting it right, you take a break. You rest your eyes. When you're stumped, you change the song or go for a walk, or pop in a movie. Right? There's basically a solution for everything. So why don't you apply those strategies to editing?

Now I'm just speaking from experience, and I know that I'm not nearly to the stage that my friend's at, but if I'm staring at my notes and both manuscripts (the old version and the new), and I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing, I step away. Do I occasionally bang my head against the table or wall or laptop, and then proceed to drown myself in a sea of chocolate? Occasionally. And is there anything wrong with that? Not really, but my waistline would beg to differ.

Editing, like writing, is a state of mind. It's hard. You're going to want to quit more times than anybody could ever hope to count. You're going to throw fits that'll make your roommates/family question your sanity. And I want to let you know that it's okay.

It's okay as long as you sit back in front of your keyboard and/or manuscript and start editing again. Because you owe it to yourself. Just keep calm and write on. Take a breath. Go on a run. Get back to your book.  Keep climbing that ladder and keep trudging on.

Stay Crazy,


Thoughts or Questions? Let me know what you think!

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