My Editing Technique
This is, once again, an edit and repost of an old post I had. I am beginning to realize these are less simple edits and more just flat out rewrites. You know that feeling you get when you scroll through your FaceBook feed from… I don’t know, ten years ago? It starts off all nostalgic and rose-colored, then it just gets more and more cringey. Everything seems so much better, until you actually see it. Well, that’s what ended up happening to me. I went back, started reading these posts, and wondered how anyone read any of this.
I had a tendency to make everything more convoluted and complicated than it had to be, and the same goes for my “editing technique,” whatever the heck that is… Needless to say, I don’t edit the same way I did when this post was originally made (May 4, 2013, jeeeeez). So, it’s time to update. Here is how I edit today:
– Something that hasn’t changed: don’t edit until you finish.
This is pretty much the only thing I held on to from my old “editing technique.” I don’t edit anything until I “finish” the piece. Now I say “finish” because until you’ve edited the piece a couple times, I don’t think it’s finished. Regardless, I don’t edit any of it until I’ve finished the first draft. I think if anything, I’ve actually gotten stricter on this. Before, I’d do some minor edits as I wrote, like fixing a misspelling, putting in missing punctuation etc. Now, I won’t even fix things like that. I don’t pay any attention to anything expect putting words on paper.
– Finish the 1st draft, then add and subtract.
Even after I’ve completed the first draft, I don’t do any copy editing, which is grammar and mechanics editing. I focus on substantive editing. I add things, I cut things, I move things around… this is the fun part of editing because, honestly, it’s still just writing.
– From substance to mechanics.
Once I think I have everything I want to keep, in the order I want to keep it in, I move on to the nitty-gritty: copy editing. I go through and fix all those mechanical issues, grammar issues, misspellings, etc. This is my least favorite because it just proves the point that you never get anything right the first time, and there are always things you need to improve. No matter how long I write, or how many degrees I earn, I still spend the most time copy editing.
– Let her rest.
After long rounds of cutting, adding, and editing, the old eyes need to rest. The piece needs to rest, but so do I. I let my piece rest for a day or two before picking it back up, then I do another round of copy edits, and from there just proofread daily until I feel confident in my piece.
And there you have it. Short, sweet, and to the point. It’s weird how time sorta edits us, too, as writers. Before, I was very long-winded and tried to sound smart, but was more obnoxious than anything else. I have pared down how much I write (though let’s be honest, not that much), and I don’t feel the need to prove I am well-spoken. But we’re getting away from the point of the post, and I think that means it’s a good time to wrap it up.
So, thanks for reading.