This is not editing

November 18, 2009 at 5:15 am (Editing, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , )

After this last week I could write a very long list of things I have been doing that are not editing (and it wouldn’t even include my day job).  But for all the distractions and time outs, the editing has been getting done.  I am so close to finishing this round of edits and being ready to do another quick read through and I am elated.  Not just because once it is done I can get on with some new writing and not stare at a sentence for an hour like it is the enemy but because it has actually made the writing so much better.  All of the agonising and frustration and wondering whether or not I was ever going to get anything done will have served a purpose.

It really did take me setting specific targets for each day to get me focused.  The strange thing is that the more I made myself sit and work on it, the easier it became to focus because I could start to see the big picture again and how each small change was improving the whole.

My top five “this is not editing” moments:

1.  Blogging – naturally.  Writing posts about writing rather than actually working on my writing.  With blogging comes the reading comments, replying to comments, following back to other people’s blogs and reading their posts, commenting on their posts, etc, etc, etc.  This didn’t distract me so much once I set a time limit on how long I could spend flitting from blog to blog.

2.  Using the Thesaurus – You wouldn’t think that this would be all that time consuming.  Don’t like a word that you have used, look up another word, insert and move on.  But there are five or six perfectly good words and what is the minute difference between each and which is the absolute best one for this job.  Using the dictionary (both paper and online) and map out the words, their meanings, their origins, in the meantime forget where you were even trying to put the word in the MS.  Handy time wasting device which could easily be construed as working to the casual observer.

3.  socializing – On the phone, on facebook, on twitter, you name it I’ve been using it to chat away.  Now mostly I’ve been talking about writing but that doesn’t get my editing done.

4.  Research – And I am only very loosely using the word here.  Mostly I’m just surfing the internet and filing random factoids because you never know when you might need a random factoid to throw into a WIP.

5.  Reading – I can’t help myself.  I love to read.  Even when I have day job stuff and writing stuff to do, I have to make time to read.  Of course it is quite hard to focus on reading with someone pointedly reminding me that “this is not editing” every half hour or so.

Wishing everyone the best of luck with their writing and editing.



  1. Robin said,

    There is nothing wrong with reading a thesaurus.
    Gertrude Stein is famous for saying “It takes a lot of time being a genius, you have to sit around so much, doing nothing.”
    Thesaurus time is not wasted time. When you love words, it is like spending time with a bible. Anything that enriches the soul and brain is good for writing and editing.
    Ever spend time with a Crossword Puzzle Dictionary?
    That’s like heaven.

    And blog surfing– well, that’s just Market Research.

    You’re doing good Cassandra Jade! Keep at it.

  2. Cassandra Jade said,

    On the upside today I finally actually finished edits and rewrites and is just a matter of giving myself a day off before reading through and tidying up. Thanks for the visit Robin.

  3. mybluescreen said,

    Research is what gets me. I’ll keep going back over a scene, making sure that I’ve got the details right. One Google leads to another, however, and pretty soon I’ll find myself mucking through the vast wilds of Wikipedia. Lots of fun, though, collecting those pretty little factoids.

    By the by, thank you so much for posting a comment the other day. I’m glad I finally made it over here for a look-see. Much good luck with your writing endeavors. I’m a big fan of science fiction and fantasy myself, so it’s nice to find a like-favored soul.

  4. Elizabeth Spann Craig said,

    So many distractions out there!

    It sounds like your editing is coming along, though. Best of luck with it, Cassandra!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Becca said,

    Great post, and very timely as I’ve been procrastinating on and editing project of my own.

    Thanks for introducing yourself at Bookstack. I’m enjoying your blog.

  6. Carol Kilgore said,

    Maybe not technically editing, but all these things help your writing and editing. That’s what I tell myself 🙂

  7. Crystal Clear Proofing said,

    Every single point you made – hit home! However, my main comment is that I’M SO GLAD TO LEARN THAT I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WILL STARE AT THE SAME SENTENCE for an hour and literally drive myself crazy. I begin to question the word, THE for crying out loud!!

    Thanks for a great post with good tips and MY being able to identify with someone facing similar issues!

  8. Cassandra Jade said,

    Thanks all for the comments. What I like about reading other writer’s blogs is that there are so many people going through exactly what I am going through.

  9. Carol Benedict said,

    Most of these are very familiar to me. I haven’t joined any social networking sites other than a couple of writing forums, but I spend more time reading blogs and writing new posts for my own than I do revising my novel.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll be checking back to catch up on your posts. Looks like some interesting stuff here.

  10. Carol J. Garvin said,

    “What I like about reading other writer’s blogs is that there are so many people going through exactly what I am going through.”

    Oh, my… how very true! Those are some of my worst “not writing, not editing” things, too. 🙂

  11. Alexis Grant said,

    Nice post. We always need these “not editing” moments so that when we do get back to editing, we can focus and do it well!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      That’s my excuse at least – I figure if I give myself time to play around that when I sit down to edit I might actually focus. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Thanks for the visit.

  12. corra said,

    Ha! That list looks exactly like mind. I do all those things (plus college full-time), and I’ve also discovered making goals and sitting down to write/edit make it easier to do it habitually.

  13. Steve said,

    I think research is my #1 non-editing time-suck. I have to continually fight the urge to keep looking for bigger and better things to infuse into my writing and have not quite mastered the art of “moving on.” However, I’m guilty of all the items you listed! Great insights!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Thanks for visiting the blog. The research cycle really can eat up a lot of time particularly when a lot of the information uncovered won’t make it into the final story. Good luck with your writing.

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