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.
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