Climbing Out of Editing Ruts

I’ve been feeling stuck with my editing.

You know the feeling. Like no matter how hard you try, how many editing passes you make on your novel, it’s just not getting any better.

All the momentum I had after NaNo seemed to have vanished with the smell of fresh-baked Christmas cookies, long since eaten.

So I took a break to read. That should give some inspiration, I thought.

But all that did was frustrate me more. Either the writing is so good I despair of ever getting to that level (or anything close to it), or I hurl the book (but never my Kindle) across the room, amazed that 587 people on Amazon gave it five stars.

I’ve been there so many times. So sure I can do better. But I just can’t get there.

I decided to try three strategies, and see what they do for me.

One old strategy, two new.

Starting with the old.

When in doubt, get advice

I set a goal to read two books on editing during the month of January. I modified this slightly when I came across a series of blog posts (link) that are really helpful. I’m also more than halfway through an excellent editing resource, which I’ll review in full in a later post.

Using these resources, I’m developing a way to edit my novel without overwhelming myself with all the thoughts of show vs. tell or POV or the myriad of other things we writers need to remember.

Now for the new:

Listen to hard rock

I usually listen to instrumental music while I write, so I’m not distracted by others’ words. But when I’m doing other tasks (like doing a little research to verify my facts on honey harvesting or chicken farming or whatever), I’ve just discovered hard rock is the way to go. It keeps me pumped up to keep going and gives me a sense of excitement and enthusiasm.

Who knew those old Cars or Boston tapes would ever come in handy?

Change the routine

I like to write in the mornings, when I’m fresh and relaxed. Recently because of a deadline, I had to write late one afternoon when I was frustrated and angry. Not the best time to summon the muse.

I was so wrong. I was able to channel that anger into rewriting a flat scene into a great one. And by mixing things up, I don’t feel so regimented, and bring some variety into my day.

We’ll see if these ideas help me be more productive and get out of the editing ruts I’ve been stuck in.

What about you? Anyone have other ideas for overcoming those Help-me-I’m stuck moments?

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