The Woes of Editing

When the freelance editor I hired returned my manuscript with many helpful comments and critiques, my initial reaction was one of relief. I was glad that I found someone who understood the story I was trying to tell and was familiar with Indian Mythology. I read through all his comments, excited by the prospect that soon I would sit down and polish the manuscript and then it would be ready to go out into the world. After all there was nothing that could stop me now, right?

Wrong. I sat down to get started and hit a wall. Metaphorically, of course, but it felt like an actual wall. My head hurt and my heart started to race. It could have just been the aftershocks from the horrible flu I was still getting over, but the panic I felt was real enough.

I had to talk myself out of the dark place I found myself in to get going again. Luckily, no one in my family finds it strange when I talk to myself, and soon enough I got going. Now I’m on a roll again, but it was scary for a while there.

So, my question to you is:

What is the best way to approach the editing process?

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10 comments on “The Woes of Editing

  1. I think that largely depends on how you feel about the worth of your editor. I know that probably sounds silly, but I have completely disagreed with some of the things my editor has said before and I think the combination of following/ not following every mark and bit of advice has made my work better. I basically try to step outside myself and look at the work as objectively as if someone else had written it when I go to edit. Don’t try to fix everything at once would be my best pearl of wisdom. Think over each change carefully.

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  2. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. It’s so overwhelming when I look at it as a whole, I don’t know where to begin. And while the editor’s comments are all very insightful, of course I don’t necessarily agree with all of them. I will take it one section at a time and hopefully that will help. Thank you !!

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  3. I would suggest leaving the editing for a month or two. Take a break, do something else and when you feel you are suitably refreshed then read it through and you will naturally pick up all the little niggly errors. During the break let the excitement and frustration of finishing subside, don’t try to forget it, just let it “digest” slowly.

    It’s amazing what we can do when we have a fresh mind. Moreover, and I am sorry if I am preaching to the converted, print it out and do it “old style”.

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  4. I’m with you Sabina: editing scares me! I mentally hit a wall whenever I open my 360,000 word document and stare at page #5 until my head hurts and I feel a little sick. I start thinking of all the other stuff I could be doing, and close the document, telling myself I can try again tomorrow. 😦
    I suppose with time, you and I will get used to editing. But until then, I drink lots of iced-coffees, work on my manuscript in the evening (it seems like I’m most relaxed then), and listen to soft music. It also helps if you burn a candle or use a wax warmer with your favorite scent, like lavender or vanilla.

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  5. Your word count is scary. Good Luck!! I see that you also are a lover of scented candles. I know exactly what you mean, I open the document, stare at the same page for a while, then one of my kids distracts me and off I go. This summer is dedicated to finishing the editing process. Happy writing.

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