Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaghaghaghaghaghagh editing *sigh * something that comes with both good and bad things. Though it’s the time for development and fine tuning of your piece, its is completely time-consuming and sometimes my gut instinct can get in the way. But at the end of the day, what’s done must get done, especially when it’s a step up to the goal you want to reach.
Now, I’ve been editing my work for years now, but I will say, as mentioned in the title, I am no professional at it. But what I can do, is offer is some tips on how to stay focused and get ish done.
But before I start, just to be clear before we go further into the scene, know everyone’s editing styles and views on editing are different. Some people prefer to rewrite their drafts until perfect, while other prefer to simply reread and make changes as they go along. Different things work for different people. So it may be that all these tips may work for you, or maybe only some will.
So Let’s get on to the tips, shall we?
Number 1: Styles of riding
As I have mentioned before, some people may like to re-write their pieces when editing (as I do – it helps me personally get my creative flow going, we well as pick out mistakes better as I am focusing on each word as I type) while others may like to simply read through and pick out their mistake. Some people may choose to do both as it helps them. Everyone’s style is different and it’s important to find your own system and no one, but you can do that. Other styles can be to listen to your work (I used to us google translator to do this, but only for final touch ups) whether out loud by themselves or from a close friend. Another way is setting friends or family to read through your work and help you pick out mistakes you may not see.
A smaller tip I can give you here is to not start editing straight after having written the piece. You are more likely to pick up mistakes your missing a few days after you have written the work, then immediately (I suggest at least wait a minimum of three days)
Number 2: Don’t focus on speed
I know one of the things I struggle with is the speed of editing. My pace is slow as this process is where I add all the characterisation, fix problems in the structure of the tale, pulling out wasteful chapter and much more.
While doing this one of my fave YouTubers (ii superwoman ii) started writing and editing her book, and as I watched her work with speed and efficiency, finishing editing in a matter of days, I felt bad about the way I work. I felt I was too slow and simply wasting time. After this, I had tried to speed up my process, but I came to a problem I hadn’t expected.Whilst trying to speed up my process, I ultimately made a sacrifice of something which my gut kept pointing out to me, on a subconscious level, but I kept ignoring. It was the quality of my pieces. I would speed through them and the end result would feel off like they are not quite finished and I simply just wasn’t happy with it.
It was then I realized, though it does take me longer to do my work, it shouldn’t feel like such a problem as it is with that time I can produce something I am proud of and that’s just the person I am. Though this doesn’t mean that there aren’t improvements needed with my process, it helped me relax and focus on getting something done rather than worrying so much about how fast I get it done.
Number 3: set timings and target
I think the most useful advice someone has given me when it comes to editing to set timings. Now, this advice isn’t like the one many writer repeats and that is to always take time, or find it where ever when ever to write. No, this advice is to simply set yourself a limited time to work, a time for which you can’t pass over and seems a little constricting. Why? Well, for me it’s because when I know I only have, say, two hours to get something done, I focus and get it done, while if I know I have all day to get something done, I am bound to let myself get distracted as I feel like there’s so much hours for which the work will get done, getting it done now is not needed. This of course is a problem. I found when I set that timing of two hours, the urgency to get it done with gets the creative flow going and the determination to get it done in that time will make me ignore all else and get the work done. It is also helpful when I set an activity that has to be done after it, such as a show to watch or dinner to ear, as it helps focus more as there is something to do after, not sparing time.
Now I know some of you, as I did when I first heard this, are going to reject this idea, not feeling like it will help, but give it a try sometime. You never know, it might. Don’t reject it straight away.
Number 4: Targets.
I feel it is also important to set target the work you do. When I work, I try to always complete at least one chapter every day. Why? Because I know when I focus, it is the minimum I can do in a day, anything less is me being lazy or procrastinating. It is also only one chapter as, as mentioned before, I can spend the time focusing and ensuring the quality is good. That doesn’t mean I will only spend one day on some chapter, sometimes chapters do take longer, simply because they require more thought to them
Number 5: Distraction s (hunger/cravings, thirst, people, and phones)
Another important one. One thing I always think about when procrastinating, is food. Or sometimes I will get random cravings while I’m work, or feel the need to bit into something, so I always try to keep a snack with me. It will stop me from getting up when I am on a roll and also, as someone who needs to multitask to work, eating and writing/editing is a god combination for me.
Make sure when writing you keep hydrated. Once you get into your pace of work, if you are like me, you can never predict how long or short they are and may often start to feel thirsty. Having water with you will keep you in your chair focused and avoid distraction.
Also, when editing, make sure to have your phone turned off and, if you can, mention to your family to not disturb you, whether it’s to call you, or even to enter the room to get something. Anything as such of causes a disturbance and lead to you forgetting your line of thought.
Number 6: Change of environment
Sometimes this can be helpful. I know when I am stuck in the same place for a month, since editing does take long, I start to loose the flow as my brain gets too comfortable and needs a change to get it jump started. This can be as simple as turning the lights on and off or changing your workplace. Other things I suggest doing, maybe moving things around on your desk (or at least cleaning it, if you like me), changing the chair you sit on or changing the position of your desk and much more.
Number 7: Music/background noise.
Music if often something people use as back ground noise to help them write or edit, which is a good thing, but here are some suggestion to help make sure it does help
Make sure the piece you are listening to is from one artist, such as an album – this will help as a change in rhythm and such can cause a distraction You want the background noise to help but not completely draw your focus with the constant changes.
Make sure it goes on for a while – having it suddenly stop and needing to change it is an obvious disruption to your focus – maybe try things on playlists, or, as before, an album on repeat (I often go for Disney parade music but on a low volume – they are often 15 to 20 minutes long and if I put them on loop then I don’t get distracted.
Don’t listen to anything you haven’t heard before, or a song that you art used to the lyrics of or your focus will be drawn to them.