Editing, a process I love to hate, is perhaps the most important tool in a writer’s arsenal. What I absolutely love about editing is the process of finding the hidden diamond in a chunk of ore and how my piece evolves after every readthrough.
What I consequently hate about the process is how it can seem never ending, tiresome and just creating more problems than it solves!
Here’s my method to the madness of editing:
I factor in that I will need time to put my post on the back burner for a while as I plan my post. So, if I have to post on Monday, my post is written by Saturday morning and then goes into editing by evening.
For novels, I stay away for at least a week as I distract myself with Netflix and chill.
Read and make corrections along the way – repeated words, wrong punctuation, grammar, spellings, etc. At this stage, my major concern is does it make sense. Is it worth publishing?
Here my focus is removing unnecessary information to make the writing as crisp and tight as possible. I also check the words I have used. For example, saying he was angry vs. he was enraged have different connotations. Sometimes it is enough to say she was scared while sometimes it is important to say her mouth was dry and her heart was beating faster.
By this time, a blog post is almost ready. This is usually done on a different medium, phone in the case of a blog post, Kindle in the case of a novel. Major reason being to distract the eye to catch mistakes.
My focus on this readthrough:
- For a nonfiction blog post that the conclusion works, or that there is a conclusion.
- For a fiction blog post that the story is well-rounded and doesn’t end with the reader feeling like they have hit a brick wall.
- For novels, chapter endings. I have come to realize that chapters are mini books in themselves and as such must serve some purpose in the overall narrative of the story.
For blog posts, I rarely ask for a second opinion, unless I know it doesn’t work but I don’t want to trash it and need someone else to tell me what I already know!
For novels, it is crucial to get a second opinion from a pair of eyes you trust.
Gap between the readthroughs depends on how much time I have. For novels, I try to keep at least a month in between if I have that luxury. If not, at least 3-4 days. For blog posts, an hour or 2 works. I usually re-read one last time before hitting the publish button.
When I am pressed for time and cannot go through the above process, I have found hearing the piece through word doc’s Read Aloud feature is a heaven-sent miracle.
One question I often struggle with is when do you stop editing. I haven’t found a proper answer for that yet. For now, I only stop once I am satisfied with the piece.
So there, as promised, that’s how I edit my writing. How about you? Do you enjoy editing your piece?
The whole of September, I will be sharing posts on things I have learnt about writing. I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.