On the “Joy” of Self-Editing

Self Editing CartoonIf I have to eat my own brain vomit one more time, I’m going to be sick. I’m making my final, final, “no really this is it” edits to my graphic novel after getting the proof back from the printer, and I’m just over it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. I love it and I think others will, but I’m ready to let it go.

There comes a point in self-editing when you start reading your memory of the text, rather than the text itself. This is when mistakes put the slip on you. When others find edits after the millionth read or even post-print, I calmly tell them it happens to everyone and they should let it go. When it happens to me, I fly into a blind rage.

While you should always enlist beta readers to catch these slip-ups (and even they won’t always catch them), self-editing is an unavoidable part of the writing process. It can also be the most tedious, frustrating, self-defeating part. You get to discover a new typo every read-through. You get to cringe at stuff you wrote earlier in the learning process. You have to come to terms with letting go of some of this stuff because otherwise you’ll never push anything out.

I approach self-editing with my tail between my legs after procrastinating until I can’t avoid it anymore. It’s like paying a visit to your most judgmental friend.

Here are some methods to keep your mind active and engaged while self-editing:

  • Take mini brain vacations for more intensive, fine-toothed reads. Work on other projects between editing sessions: crafting, reading, cooking, whatever helps you check out for a while.
  • Avoid distracting environments. Can you guess where I prefer to do my editing? That’s right–coffee shops. I’m far from the temptations of my pillow, and I can people-watch when my brain gets tired.
  • Adopt a different role for each read-through: your target audience, a professional proofreader, an editor, your ex. So many options!
  • Have a beverage handy. This is probably the oddest method, but I have found that I stay focused for longer periods of time when my hands have additional tasks. Since I wouldn’t recommend smoking, and perpetually eating while editing could also be unhealthy, drinking water, tea, or even coffee seems the lesser evil.

If you have your own methods for effective self-editing, do tell!

Battling the Writing Beast & Kickstarter Fanfare

I’ve been a delinquent blogger, vlogger, writer…everything. I know this. Here’s the deal. I go through these periods where all of my best laid plans bottleneck, congeal, and morph into a hideous, screaming hydra. I’m currently chopping at this hydra with a dull machete, trying to nap and be a human being in between swings.

Writing Beast

My problem is that I have more plans than time. As my bestie, Alyssa, puts it, I’m burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.

The bad news is I’m bone-weary and overwhelmed all the time; the good news is that things got done. For instance, illustrator Robert Burrows and I have launched the Kickstarter for the first volume of our graphic novel, Beatrice is Dead!

I’ll just leave the video and Kickstarter link here…you know, in case you want to do something with them.

The video is PG, but please do note that Beatrice is Dead was written for an adult audience.

I should probably put more fanfare behind this, but I’ve decided that this blog is the one place where I don’t have to be a marketer. But I am immensely proud of this graphic novel and I do hope you’ll back us if the story interests you.

Click the header directly below for the Kickstarter page.

Beatrice is Dead, Volume 1: City of Ash Kickstarter

Fanfare Illustration

Recommended Podcast: George RR Martin on Nerdist

George RR Martin recently took some time out of his Comic Con schedule to talk to the guys at Nerdist (Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira). The interview is interesting not only for the Game of Thrones fan, but for writers in general as Martin talks about his writing habits and the craft. I love it when super-successful writers keep it real in conversation; Martin definitely does.

NERDIST PODCAST: GEORGE RR MARTIN

Writing Infographics: Not Getting Any Writing Done

This has been going around. It’s a pretty appropriate infographic to describe my entire weekend. I feel like I spent a lot of time loving up my laptop with my eyes but making absolutely no progress on anything. Which led to a panicked start to my week.

I made my deadline, but I’m currently at my favorite near-work coffee shop breathing into a paper bag and attempting to cheer myself up with a cappuccino.

Novel Hell