I’m currently in the process of editing a book AND writing a completly different novel in a different language and I’m trying not to go absolutely crazy so I’ve been looking for tips online on how to maintain mental stability while doing that.
I found nothing.
But I did manage to compile a few editing tips that are totally helping me keep my sh*t together!
*Note: I’m focussing on the FIRST EDIT of a manuscript. You’ve just finished a first draft and need to reorganize and rewrite the whole thing. Not focussing on typos, phrasing, or details, here. YKWIM.*
ONE: Divide the book in as many parts as needed
It doesn’t need to be written in the actual book. But it will help you not think of your project as a 100 000-word mess that needs your attention left and right. That way it’s easier to visualize, and easier to edit.
For example, the book I’m currently editing has 4 official Parts. But each Part is divided in 3-4 Stages, where I make sure that the story builds up gradually toward the plot twist planned for the last chapter of each Part.
Basically, think of that WIP like Monica Geller thinks of her kitchen.
TWO: Reward yourself OFTEN
You’ve completed a chapter and it took you forever and you don’t feel motivated to edit the next one? That’s okay! Take a break! Eat a Kit Kat or watch that new episode of The Good Place and then dive into the next chapter tomorrow! Today, you edited a whole CHAPTER!
You don’t need to be making HUGE progress every day. If you think that way you’ll be constantly beating yourself up and then you’ll start thinking you can’t finish this.
Plus, little rewards are fun. Think about the little rewards.
THREE: If you’re stuck, take a walk
I used to think writer’s block only happened when you were WRITING the story, not EDITING it. And yet. I’ve had my biggest blocks while editing and trying to make the plot work perfectly and fluidly because while drafting I just wrote a comment in the margin that said *DUDE, FIX THIS LATER*.
Editing is fixing all of these annoying comments.
And it can be REALLY frustrating and I find that taking a walk to think it over instead of stubbornly fixating on that DUDE, FIX THIS comment is much better.
So when your manuscript won’t make sense, just tell it:
FOUR: Have a beta-reader working with you
I’m not saying send the MESSY FIRST DRAFT to 20 people. I’m saying, pick one person you know won’t mind working through this with you and helping you spot the work’s strenghts and weaknesses.
The way I work is I edit a part, then send it to my No. 1 Beta (who happens to be an amazing friend who always reads my stuff the minute I send it!) Then the comments she sends me and the excitement she has for the project totally motivate me to get to the next part.
It makes the whole thing out of your own head and into the real world, which is healthy, pal.
So find that friend. AND DON’T LET THEM GO.
FIVE: If it’s driving you crazy, it’s definitely worth finishing
It’s a fact.
If it were too easy to write, it would probably mean it’s already been written a million times. But a story that’s driving you crazy is a UNIQUE story.
So take a deep breath.
This is good.
And this will be amazing.
That’s it for me!
Let me know what you do in order to stay sane while editing a manuscript?
Happy writing, everyone!