Monday, 16 December 2019

Balancing Editing & Writing - The After Process


BALANCING EDITING AND WRITING

As I'm reaching the end of my editing year of hell, I thought I would do a post about how to balance both editing a project, and writing a different one. As I'm into the beginning of edits for 2020, I'm also writing two new projects as I usually do. This time last year I was working with a completely different editing team, but that's a topic for another day. My point here is that when editing, if you want to continue drafting, you need to find a balance between the two since they can both be a heavy work load and also kinda draining on that creative well.

So how do I do it? Simple really, I plan! You know this by now, I've talked about it a lot in my advice pieces, and my videos on Authortube (channel here). I won't go into details of the software and such that I used, but I will give you some tips on how to go about finding that balance!

#1 SEPARATE THE TWO
I say this simply because trying to do both tasks at once is only going to frustrate you. I generally will have completely different days for each task. If I'm drafting, I am not going to be delving into edits. If I'm editing, I won't be picking up my projects either. It's to make sure of two things. One, that my concentration isn't pulled in two different directions. And two, so that I'm not draining my creative well. The last thing I want to do is burn out and end up missing deadlines because of that.

#2 BREAK THEM INTO CHUNKS

I know how long it takes me to write a chapter, and I know, generally, how much editing I can get done in any one day. I don't, therefore, tell myself to do more than I'm capable of. Otherwise it's going to stress me out. I make sure that I have adequate time, but also have breathing room should something change, or a chapter need more extensive edits and such. Breaking it into chunks makes the whole thing seem less overwhelming and allows me to breathe a little easier.

#3 TAKING BREAKS IS NOT OPTIONAL
This allows for things like talking to friends, or reading a book, whatever works for you as either self-care, or giving you breathing room. It means that my daily life isn't always work, and that's a good thing. It's healthy to have time off, and to take breaks even when you're in the midst of writing and editing. Even when you have a deadline, whether that's self-imposed or otherwise, you need to make sure you have the time you need, and also the time to ease off the work load.

#4 START WITH THE BIG BITS AND WORK DOWN
This applies more to editing than balancing, but it bears mention in this piece. When you're approaching a mammoth task of editing your book ready for an editor, or going through the edits from the editor, you need to be starting with the big pieces that will effect the project overall. This can mean breaking those into manageable chunks, but the overall process should mean that you don't end up focusing on small changes that might have to be changed again when you're corrected some of the bigger projects. It pays to not get too overwhelmed and burnt out because you've made more work for yourself than necessary.

#5 MAKING YOUR DEADLINES SLIGHTLY FLEXIBLE
I go through three rounds of professional edit after my own self-edit. I make sure that the deadlines I have in place are a little bit more flexible than what they first appear to be. This means that if me, or my editor, has an issue and needs to take time off, or take longer on a portion of the book, we don't end up burning the candle at both ends to meet the deadline.

This applies to that balance too. If you have told yourself that you want to finish a draft by a certain date, make sure it's not written in stone so that it allows you some breathing room. This can apply to anything from NaNo to the camps, to just wanting to finish that draft before the end of the year. Goals and deadlines can help spur you on, but if they're too strict, you might end up in a puddle on the floor having pushed yourself to breaking point, and no one wants that.

So there we have it, it's how I've balanced writing and editing this past year, and it's how I'd advise you to do the same. If you have any tips, leave them in the comments below!

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