We all know that I’m not the best at self-editing. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I tend to end up proofreading rather than editing. I know what I want to fix but can’t figure out how to fix it. So I skip it to “deal with it later.” And that’s not good for any writer and their novel.
I’ve decided to give myself a good kick and really make 2018 count. No more “prep” for this or that and then never following through. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but I’m pretty slow. I think I’m ready at this point to finally do something about my writing and I think it shows in my editing.
A few months ago I talked about Rainbow Editing your manuscript. It’s all about using various colors for different parts of your novel. For example, I use the colors in the following way:
Red – Typos, spelling, grammar Orange – Dialogue, description, pacing, tenses, etc. Green – Plot changes Blue – Character development Purple – Research and fact-checking Pink – Overall structure, vocabulary/word replacement, etc.
I started using this method to edit The Scribethis month and I can’t express how impressed I am that it’s working for me.
Instead of losing steam after 10 pages, I edited over 60 in one sitting. Which, admittedly, is a big deal for me. My manuscript is marked up with mostly orange, green, and blue with a little red, purple, and pink sprinkled in. I’m cutting probably about 75% of the story, so the majority of the pages are filled with a giant green X.
I think this method helps me focus on one thing at a time rather than looking at the whole picture and getting overwhelmed. And no, I don’t go through a chapter six times in a row for each individual color, I look at each page, each paragraph, and think to myself, “what’s not working here?”
After I mark up a paragraph or a few with green and/or orange, I look back at it making sure the character development makes sense, that the paragraph should be in that spot, etc.
It’s hard to explain, but it actually works and I have to say I’m impressed.
It’s a slow process, but it definitely helps. The pages of my manuscript are so colorful and maybe I just get easily distracted by pretty things that it’s holding my attention more: “How much color can I splash on this page?”
In all seriousness, I have to rewrite more than half of this story, which I’m in the process of. So… it’s going.
I still have about two weeks to finish the rewrite and give it another good edit. I still plan on publishing the story onto Wattpad in January. So, wish me luck!
Are you editing your NaNoWriMo novel right now? Do you try different editing methods or tend to stick with a certain way? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Let me start off by saying: I wish I had that doorknob hangy-thingy like in the picture above.
*Ahem* It’s day two of NaNoWriMo. We are no where near the end, yet the 30th will be here before we know it. And because of that, we need to find all the time we can to write. You can’t say, “Oh, it’s only day two. I can write double tomorrow,” or “It’s only day two, I still have 28 days to get it done.” No. it doesn’t work that way. If you procrastinate today, then it’s inevitable that you’ll procrastinate tomorrow.
Being a writer is so much more than just writing. It’s all about sacrifice. Sacrifice time, sacrifice social life, sacrifice your sanity.
Let’s talk about time because that’s been my biggest issue lately. I was happy that NaNo started on a Friday. I work eight hours a day so my only real time to write is in the mornings. Because when I get home from work I need to do homework and I’m exhausted. But it’s also hard to find time in the morning. If I don’t wake up really early, then I can’t get as much writing in as I want to because I get my two cousins ready for school in the morning. Now they’re both old enough, 9 and 11, so it’s not like I need to get them dressed or anything. But I do have to remind them every once in a while. If I don’t shut off the TV when I tell them to start getting ready for school, then a half hour later they will still be sitting in front of that TV.
But since it was a Friday, I only had to worry about that one day. I didn’t get as much written as I wanted to, but I was over the word count goal with 1,717 words. It was a good start. Then Saturday, today, I could write all day. And Sunday I can write all day after church. It’s a good start to NaNo.
I try to write for at least one hour every single day. I was really good at doing that in the summer, but when school and work started I stopped. And I really shouldn’t have. I’m hoping NaNo gets me back into the routine and I carry on with it through November and beyond. But it’s tough to find time when there is no time. The thing is, there is always time.
I like to write for at least an hour. I can bang out about 2,000 words in an hour (depending on my caffeine intake and how early/late it is in the day) and to me that’s a job well done. If I sit down and write for ten minutes, well…what good does that do?
It actually does a lot of good. I finally understand the meaning, “slow and steady wins the race.” Even though it’s not as much as you would like, you’re still writing. You are still getting something written down on the paper and that’s ten less minutes that you need to get done the next time you write for a decent length of time.
The reason I’m talking about this is because I thought this weekend was going to be a breeze. I probably could have made it to 50,000 words this weekend if I could. But plans got changed. And because of that, I’m finding it hard to find time to write.
These guys were supposed to come in the middle of the November to add insulation to the upstairs and basement to our house. Now the upstairs is my and Kris’s bedroom and our office/video game room. The only two places in the house we can hang out, write, have some privacy. Well, these guys had a cancellation so they came Thursday and Friday (Halloween and the first day of NaNo). Where are we going to write? When are we going to write if the guys are in the house and we need to babysit the dog and the cat so they don’t bother the men working?
The basement and the entire upstairs looks like an episode from “Hoarders.” Kris and I have been sleeping in the living room for the past two nights because we can’t get to our beds. By the way, this was supposed to be a two-day job and they’re still not finished. And they can’t come back until Wednesday. Yipee…
Kris and I planned to write every single Sunday in November together. Go to church, go to Starbucks, come home and write until we have to go to bed. We can’t do that tomorrow because we don’t have any place to go. Not to mention that we need to try to clean up the place a little bit.
This is what I mean about finding time. I thought I had all the time in the world and today I have to work on cleaning the rooms a bit and go to my friend’s birthday party later tonight. Tomorrow, I have church, continue cleaning the rooms, then I have to babysit from 6-midnight. It’s tough, but guess what? I did it. I made the goal yesterday and I made the goal today. I will make the goal tomorrow, too…I am determined to!
So ten minutes or a few hours, it makes no difference. As long as you’re writing, you’re getting something done.
Then you need to sacrifice your social life, too. My boyfriend and I haven’t had a chance to see each other a lot lately due to work, school, and other things going on in our lives. We used to see each other practically every single day, too. But even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, I told him that I’m not seeing him every Sunday during November. I need to write. He understands as this is something I love, something I want to do. I have to do what I have to do in order to make my dreams come true. I’m very fortunate to have someone so understanding and supportive. So on Sundays my only form of human interaction will be with my sister…and the workers at Starbucks.
I can’t come up with any examples of sacrificing your sanity…I don’t think I had any sanity to begin with.
But that’s what writing is all about. Sacrificing everything here and there to do something you love. Something you want to do. It is difficult to find time; especially when you already made plans to write straight through the entire day.
This is why I think NaNo exists. It’s not about whether you can write an entire novel in 30 days. It’s whether you can take on the pressure, the anxiety, the frustration, the sacrifices, and the ups and downs of being a writer. It’s a much deeper test than we all make it out to be. So the question is: Can you handle it?