One Hundred Pages of Editing: A Dialogue

July 30, 2011

How many cakes does it take to edit 100 pages of your first novel?

The answer?  Zero.  If you are eating cake, then you probably aren’t working.  And this really is the essence of editing.  Be it cake, chocolate, coffee, tea, a different type of tea…

But I digress.  Focus.  A steely focus on the task at hand is what is required be it a novel, a blog, an email…

Ok.  Here are the facts.

1. It can be tedious editing your first novel.  I suspect that it can be tedious editing ANY novel for that matter.

2. Cats can be distracting.  So can the telephone.  I’ve still yet to determine what company those telemarketers work for other than the “Global Internet Router”, but it does give me a good laugh.

3. You’d rather be writing your second novel, rather than editing your first.

Do you feel like this poor girl with the pin face?  Don’t despair!  Here are my top tips!

1. Set goals!  Yes I know that is boring and everyone says that but if you start counting how many pages you did it gives you a sense of accomplishment.

2. Reward yourself!  Edit a page, drink a coffee.  Edit another page, buy yourself some delicious watermelon.  Or Tofu.

3. Realise that editing is hard work because your work is unpolished and hard to read and that after editing you will have delicious gold at the end.  Sadly, once your novel is super awesome you’ll have no reason to work on it anymore.  Then what are you going to do?  Interact with the public?  You love your hermit lifestyle.  Admit it.

4. Get a supporter or two.  Get them to say nice things about you and your work at all costs.  Let their criticisms guide you.  Buy them dinner if at all possible.  Tofu perhaps.

So there.  One hundred pages of editing might not be an amazing milestone, but its divisible by 10 and that is how many fingers you have.  And you use those fingers to do editing now, don’t you?

So press your nose against the glass and keep searching for the door.  That reward is there waiting for you.  And it tastes like chocolate.

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4 Responses to “One Hundred Pages of Editing: A Dialogue”

  1. Love it…but I’m still disappointed I didn’t have any of those chocolates at Daylesford.

    I’m here with the ‘poor girl with the pin face’ and we both want to know when we get to see the manuscript. Hang in there! It’s time to release it to the world.

  2. Paul said

    I think you’ve solved it. Devise a task and use the original task to distract you from the new task. Put a lot of pressure on yourself to complete the new task and guaranteed, you will see the original task as a godsend.

    • Sorry Paul, WordPress decided your email was junk! I on the other hand find it to be both stimulating and validating.

      I think an ability to self-monitor is good too. Ask yourself “Should I be reading the paper right now?” or “How much gardening can one person really do in a 4×1 meter plot in a single day?”

      Hard hitting, I know.

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