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How to Keep Motivated While Editing?


I’m almost at the end at another edit through my second novel – hopefully at the end of today I’ll be tweeting a massive hurray! It’s not that I don’t like what I’ve written or that I’ve now read it through for seemingly the umpteenth time (I’m actually getting to really know the ins and outs of the characters as a reader as well as the one who created them).

But its been a struggle to keep motivated. The first edit through was a massive task, I had sections that weren’t even finished, and I did a lot of initial editing, plus lots of highlighting, as well as lots of re-arranging into a more sensible order. Then I read it through again – making small changes when the leapt out at me. Now it’s my third – and hopefully penultimate – edit. And its taken me ages. 

And I think the main thing that I’ve learnt in order to keep bringing myself to the page to keep on editing – and quieting my mind to the other great possible stories and future novel ideas that are rocking around in my brain – is to break it down into chunks.

I’m at that editing stage where I think I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got – now I’m reading it through and editing basically line by line and paragraph by paragraph to make sure that what I’ve written down is the best that it can be. And that’s a pretty big task. But it’s also a task that needs a huge amount of concentration. So I never really do more than a couple of hours at a time – because after a while my eyes start to skip of the page quicker and my brain starts turning to mush the harder and longer I concentrate.

What I’ve learnt – break it down. Do a couple of hours and then stop. I’m not going to help myself by trying to do more in one session.

What I’ve learnt – not to feel guilty. Yeah a huge part of me feels guilty that I’m not working on the editing process for hours on end – part of me feels I should. But….

….What I’ve learnt – that I shouldn’t rush through it. Editing isn’t a stage that many writer’s like to do, but it has to be done but still I have to pull myself away before I start to get ahead of myself. I don’t want to miss anything in the rush just to get it finished(!!) 

What I’ve learnt – that I can work on something else at the same time. The beauty of doing only a couple of hours editing at a time allows more time to undertake other projects, whether its to spend some serious time on blogging, on networking, on brain-storming new ideas, on writing new things, on research, or simply on reading that escalating pile of books that you just haven’t found the time to read yet.

Editing is no one’s friend really. It just helps to find what works best for you so your work isn’t languishing at the bottom of a drawer or lost in a computer folder on your desktop. For me its taking little baby steps at a time otherwise I think I’ll get disillusioned with it. Editing for me has been a up-hill struggle, but I’ll get it done – I know I will – so how I get it done is alright with me as long as it gets done. 

One comment on “How to Keep Motivated While Editing?

  1. I feel your pain, Louise! Editing (which I obviously love to do) requires a different focus than writing. Working on other things while you’re editing is not only doable, but necessary to avoid burning out, in my opinion.

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