Writing Tips

Escaping Editing Funks

I’ve been in an editing funk for several (okay, more like eight) months with a story. It’s gone on so long that I’ve reached the point where even thinking about it and the changes that still need to be made makes me feel angry and want to give up completely. I’ve come so very close to just deleting the entire file and scrapping the whole thing a few times. Unfortunately, I can’t do that (it’s under contract so that would not be good) and someone said that you have to push through the hard times, right?

How do you get through an editing funk? Sometimes they come on suddenly and other times they build up until you just can’t take it anymore. With this particular project, I have a deadline, so on top of not knowing how to make it better, I have to do it in a certain amount of time. This isn’t always easy.

Firstly, break it down. Don’t try to take it on in one huge gulp. Depending on the length of your story, focus on one aspect at a time. Need to change some scenes? One at a time. Leave the little things for last.

Secondly, don’t freak yourself out. It can seem incredibly overwhelming when you have a whole list of things to change and work on – feedback from others can be both helpful and horrible at the same time.

Thirdly, if you do have comments from someone else, try to take them objectively. Sometimes it can feel as though that someone is attacking your work and that’s not a good feeling, but remind yourself that (hopefully) they’re doing it for your benefit. They want to make your story better, and you are 100% allowed not to take their advice.

I think the most important thing is to take your time. If something feels looming and terrible, don’t try to do it all at once. That will just make you so stressed out that you can’t do anything. The whole point of editing is to make your work better, not to make you hate yourself and every word you’ve ever written, even if it feels like that sometimes. Editing can be the bane of your existence, but in the end, hopefully things will come out better and it will all have been worth it.

How do you get yourself out of an editing funk?

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