I’m well into the editing phase of my latest book, so I thought I’d write about a few observations I’ve made on the process. As you might know from a previous update, I’ve set a goal of completing this book in a year. To do it I’ve had to be far more organised than what I’ve been in the past, particularly when it comes to editing.
With my previous two books I can honestly say I never really polished them up as well as I should have done. It doesn’t help that editing isn’t an even process (what part of writing a book is?). When I was writing the first draft and doing a few hundreds words each session, some days I had time, energy and focus all on my side and would knock it out of the park. Other days, not so much. And so it is with editing. One day I see with absolute clarity what needs changing, what doesn’t flow or where the plot holes are. The next day I struggle to even spot simple spelling mistakes.
It can be very easy to slip into a habit of endlessly tweaking things, but the worst thing you can do is change things for the sake of it. Unless an edit improves the writing, what’s the point? Fortunately, that one year deadline has really helped me focus on what will truly make a difference.
The second worst thing you can do is try and catch everything in one pass. I guarantee you’ll miss plenty of spelling mistakes even after several drafts, and it will inevitably take countless read-throughs before you realise that sentence isn’t right or that one word really isn’t necessary. So, nowadays I don’t stress about it. I read through the page or chapter a couple of times and just edit what I find. I almost certainly won’t catch everything, but that’s OK. There’s always the next time (and the next time…).