As many of you already know, I’ve been on an editing journey trying to edit my 4th book Not Like Everyone Else. Well, I’m continuing on that journey. Still.
I wanted to publish this book this month, but as I got further into the edit I realized it needed more. More structure and more feeling. It needed something that was going to take more time. So I made the decision to wait to publish it. This is all in hopes that the end product is something great.
I also have been trying to finish my NaNoWriMo project that I was working on in November. You can read all about that journey here. But for now, all I want from that project is for the first draft to be fully written. I’m almost there! I don’t plan on editing that one until the new year.
Anyway, back to editing Not Like Everyone Else. I have been editing it for on and off 6 months at this point. Mostly off than on. Whoops. But in those 6 months, I’ve learned a lot and that is what I want to share with you today.
Here is my list of
1. Set Goals
I don’t know how many times I didn’t edit because I figured I would do it the next day or the next. Once I figured out that I needed to make myself edit, that is when the magic happened. I wrote down on a piece of paper each day of the week and how many pages I needed to edit for the day. This helps me be more productive, but also not feel stressed. I feel like I’m getting somewhere each day and editing is actually taking place.
To help you set goals use a planner or a piece of paper that you will look at each day. Something that you can mark that you’ve completed. I currently use a piece of paper with the date on it, but I plan on getting a planner for the new year.
2. Don’t Rush
This is SO important. Don’t rush to finish your work. It only ends up being sloppy and hard to decipher later. The more time you take to make it your best, the better. I rushed a lot writing Not Like Everyone Else and never had a clear path. The first edit I only fixed contractions. The second was structural. Now I’m on the third draft going “what was I doing”? I feel like my third draft is a solid first draft. Also don’t rush your endings. I have yet to finish the ending for Not Like Everyone Else. I quickly wrote it to get to 50k words during NaNo and it feels as if the story stopped. So take my word on it and avoid rushing. It will make a better story in the long-run.
To keep yourself from rushing plan out what you want to cover for the day. Be it a chapter or a scene just take your time with it. I currently set a timer for 30 minutes each day so that I will stay focused and keep myself on task for the day.
This is another important thing in editing. Be organized. Trying to figure out everything as you write is not useful or productive. That one side character that you referenced 15 pages ago, but can’t remember their name? Yeah taking the time and scrolling through your document isn’t fun. Keeping a list of characters and settings for that matter saves a lot of time as you write and edit your story. Also keeping your chapters organized. Up until my most recent project, I’ve never kept a chapter list. I figured adding in chapters after the book was completed was the smartest way to go. But now I’ve noticed how wrong I was. Some chapters cover 10 different things while others barely cover 1. It’s a mismatch of information that needs to be fixed. It’s stressful to have to sort out all of this after you think that you’re coming to a successful finish.
To organize yourself I created organizational sheets to help with this exact problem. All you need to do is put in your email address and these sheets will be delivered right to your inbox. And you can unsubscribe at any time. These sheets include: Character List, Settings List, Chapter List, and a Detailed Character Description Sheet. In total there are 8 pages that are all 100% printable and useful when it comes to writing.
4. Keep a Fix List
How many times have you been editing and go “wow that character had blue eyes in another chapter”? Well, I have, among many other detail mix-ups. By keeping a list of things that you need to fix by your side when you go through again, it will make it easier to make the fixes as you go along. This will save you time from scrolling through pages and pages before finding that one small detail.
To keep a fix list well, this one is pretty simple. All you need if a piece of paper and a pen. As you come across things, write it down. That’s it. Then when you go through again, cross out the things that you’ve completed as you’ve completed them.
5. Get Help
I know letting your book baby out of the nest is hard. Very hard actually. But trust me when I say letting someone read it and notate things that should be changed or grammatical errors made is useful. Not Like Everyone Else is the first book that I’ve had someone read during my editing process and it’s made the world of difference. My fiance is literally the best for putting up with my many errors.
How to find someone to help you go to someone that you trust and has a pretty good grasp of grammar. It helps to hand over your book baby to someone that you are able to trust will help make your work better.
I’m sure there are a lot of things I’m missing from this list. And I probably said things that people do all the time without a problem. This is only what I have found useful for me and it may be useful for you too. I hope that you found this useful and that you may use this information when completing your next project!
Do you have any things you’ve learned from editing? Did you like my tips? Let me know in the comments below!