Well, this past week has been a bit of a whirlwind, to say the least.
I was finally able to announce my book deal with Immortal Works, I’ve started a book blog, and I’ve begun editing my book to polish it up for my editor.
But I’ll tell the truth. I’m kind of intimidated by the whole editing thing. I know it’s necessary, but that still doesn’t take away from the but-what-if-everything-is-horrible fears that lurk around the corner all the time. But that’s okay! It’s all part of the process and it helps to know I’m not alone.
And if you’re in the editing rabbit hole too, lemme tell you. You’re not alone! After racking your brain into remembering all those grammar rules you learned in school for each and every sentence, at some point the words blur together a little bit. Or a lot.
So I’ve decided to compile a list of tricks I use to help me keep me focused and thorough during my editing process! All of these may not apply to everyone, but these are the things that have worked for me, and maybe you’ll find something you hadn’t thought of before!
- Listening to music
I love listening to playlists I’ve specifically created for my current project to keep me inspired. Songs that put me in the mood for the scene work best, but you could also just put on whatever helps you concentrate. My favorite sources for chill, calming songs are Chillhop (a playlist you can find if you search for it on Spotify or live on YouTube) or classical music, especially on piano.
Otherwise, I actually love the complete opposite. Give me hip hop, rap, even pop songs with a killer beat that sound like they could go on a movie trailer, and I’ll be clacking away on my keyboard. Just picture the trailer of your book’s future movie, and groove to the music, if you can keep yourself from dancing.
- Mutter to yourself
If you’re like me, sometimes maintaining concentration is a struggle. And actually muttering to myself helps me stay focused on the words on the page. If you’re reading to yourself, your eyes aren’t roaming around the screen, and you’re definitely not clicking away and getting distracted by the Internet *cough cough* like me *cough cough*.
Plus, it’s not as difficult to do in public as the classic, read-out-loud trick. Reading to yourself, you have to be alone for. Muttering to yourself may still look a little weird, but you won’t look that weird.
- Work on other projects
The hilarious thing is, I think concentrating on edits is actually helping me out of the writer’s block I was dealing with on my other project, Broken Oceans, which is now in the final four chapters. Guys, I have been stuck on this project for a few weeks now, and editing Dragon Bones actually gave me a fresher perspective! So, my system right now is do 5+ chapters of edits every day, then work on Broken Oceans as a sort of reward.
To be honest, I think editing doesn’t take much of my creative brain, but drafting sure as hell does. So I figure that when the creative side is tired, the logistic side can just work on auto pilot, and vice versa. It gives a relief from all the stiff reading and correcting and lets me do something fun on the side, but still in the writing zone.
So there you go, maybe if you have a second project to tinker with whenever you’re not editing, it can inspire you to finish! Like a little carrot on a string in front of your metaphorical hamster wheel.
- Take breaks
While getting work done is essential, so is getting a fresh perspective so you’re not making sloppy mistakes. Even five minutes away from your manuscript thinking about something else can help you come back less stressed, and therefore more productive. I like to use an app game that doesn’t take long to play to get my mind off writing. Neko Atsume, to be exact.
On top of being just adorable, you can only interact with the game every couple of hours, so it gives you enough fun to enjoy it while it lasts, but also forces you to get off when you’re finished (this is not an ad, by the way, haha. I wish). The perfect diversion to refresh your brain with something mindless (plus, the more time you wait between uses, the more cats you’ll find, so bonus!)
But besides app games, you could also get a glass of water (drinking plenty of water is very important!), talk a nice walk, open a window and take in some air, or get an all-important writing snack and come back.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself
This is one of the biggest things that I think hinders writers, which is the ever-present fear of not being good enough. Creative fields are some of the hardest fields to feel confident in. It makes sense, it’s not a job where you do the same thing every day. For other fields, completing the work well is already being efficient. For a creative, it’s never the same thing every day. Our work can be good one day and crappy the next. “Completion” is relative, because you can have 50k words done, but that doesn’t mean they make sense, or that they create a stimulating story at all.
It’s hard. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less validated. Your work isn’t any less work because you enjoy it, and needing to improve doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer right now. You’ve come this far, and you deserve to pat yourself on the back for that! Comparing yourself to others is a temptation, but try not to give in. More likely than not, even the people you compare yourself to doubt themselves every day, as well. And in some way, they probably compare themselves to you, too.
Writers are generally a bunch that take criticism better than compliments, but in order to edit you have to acknowledge your strengths too! Otherwise, you might be changing something that needs to stay, or keeping something that needs to go, all because you didn’t know what you were good at.
I believe in you, guys. It’s hard, but you always have a cheerleader in me!
So those are my tips for editing. Not to say it isn’t still hard, I’m still debating banging my head into the desk to get it done, but these at least make it a little easier. Stops the banging a little sooner.
I’ll catch you later!