When Not to Edit
Sometimes we don’t feel like writing, or we’re frustrated with what we’ve produced. This is NOT the time to switch to editing.
A friend said when she’s stuck in her plot, she edits. Okay, editing what you’ve just written is part of creating a scene or the story. Oftentimes editing triggers new ideas and gets you out of being stuck. We writers do this all the time; edit what we’ve written, to assure we’ve said what we meant, in order to proceed further.
However, as an editor, pure editing of a large or total body of work is not good at certain times.
Never edit when:
- It’s late in the day
- When you’re in a hurry
- When tired
- Have eye strain
- When hungry
- When angry
- When someone waits for you to finish
If you wish to take a chance with your own work and edit under these conditions, keep in mind that you may chop up your work. It could turn out to be something you never intended.
One of those distractions, like when you’re hungry, can be dealt with immediately. Have you never eaten a snack or lunch over your keyboard? Do you have a glass or cup of something satisfying sitting on your desk at all times?
It’s crucial that when editing other writers’ prose that you are in the best frame of mind, attempting to understand what the other person has created. The above list of times when not to edit tend to create a less caring attitude. Get through the work and be done with it. That is not good enough, not even with your own work.
Take a break. Wait till the next day. Read a book. Whatever. You wouldn’t want someone editing your work under those conditions; don’t even do that to yourself. Most often when writing your own stories, editing can go too far afield when you’re distracted. You may end up not thinking through any changes and altering the story in ways you never intended it to go. Have a clear head when editing.
When editing your manuscript after a publishing house asks for changes and sets a deadline, you may have to prop up your eyelids if time is of the essence. In that case, you should happily get through your work in spite of the deadline because a publisher likes your story. Yay!
The more you write and create, the more you’re likely to get your ideas down closer to what you wish to say. Editing will be easier and your prose may not need drastic changes that may happen when careless. Have a clear head.
Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.