Saturday, July 18, 2015

Foundations for Castles in the Air: Editing Hell

I've been trying to figure out a good method of editing the book I cobbled together this past NaNoWriMo, and so far... it's nearly impossible.

I guess the best way I can summarize my inability to tackle this important step - because let's face it, we all know editors are superheroes - is an issue of perspective. From one side, it looks like this mammoth task I am having absolutely no luck in chunking out into manageable portions. From the other side, all I want to do is edit, edit, edit... but I have no idea where to get started!

Here's what I do know so far:

  • I like what I've written. I guess one of my main concerns was that I'd start reading through it again, and lose all faith in my writing abilities. But no, I actually still think it's really good. (Go figure.)
  • I have no idea what kind of steps to take next. Every time I think about the 50,000+ words stuck in that Microsoft Office Word Document, my heart pressure skyrockets. Where do I go from here? 
  • I know I can do it... I just need the right kind of plan for getting it done. 

So, in an effort to seek out some guidance to this situation, I turned to the best advice-giving source I knew... Pinterest. 

After scouting through article after blogpost after listicle after internet rant, I found some ideas coming up again and again, that people thought made for some of the best motivational factors for editing.

Solutions to Editing Woes, according to Pinterest:

  • Make an organized time plan, factoring in other events and responsibilities, that allows for a certain doable number of words / chapters each week. The only way to get things done, is to make sure you're doing them, and the best way of ensuring your own dedication, is a plan for dedicated time for editing! 
  • Invest free time into getting it done, too. One of my least favorite time fractions is twenty minutes... too little time to do anything meaningful, but too much to just sit around doing nothing. Usually I spend that time on YouTube, or doing one last run-through of social media. During NaNo, that was my go-to last-minute writing time... I just need to get back into that habit.
  • Be excited! Don't go full daydreaming-about-trips-to-Ellen's-talk-show-couch mode just yet, but do allow yourself to think about what the cover might look like when you're all the way done, or run through another hundred title options.
Here's a fun universe-connecting-in-crazy-ways thing: yesterday, when I turned the page in my planner to write down my day's work - including on this blogpost - I found the following inspirational quote getting me ready to tackle the day:

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."                                     - Henry David Thoreau

I'd like to take this as a message from the Universe, as a lesson in editing: yeah, you've got the lofty ambitions of grandeur hidden somewhere in the construction of that plot, and it might even be something pretty magnificent. Just because it's a tall order, doesn't mean that you can't give it something sturdy to stand on. And that's what I've got to do!

Does anyone else have any editing experiences they'd like to share? Advice? Let me know, in the comments below! 


  1. Instead of commenting, I wrote this. I hope it helps!

    1. That was a great read; thanks for the pro tips! :)