How to not lose your mind while editing

Editing a novel. How shall I describe it?

Editing is like polishing silver, except with a blindfold, and the blindfold is on fire, and you are banging your head against a wall trying to put the flames out while still polishing the silver.


giphy (28)
pretty much how it is

But it’s all worth it. I promise. (I really, really, really promise the editing is worth it).

But how – how do you not lose your mind while editing?? I got a few tips…they may be helpful…

*grins and shrugs*


Write clear and concise notes.

This probably depends on your editing process…but if you’re like me, you take a lot of notes. A LOT.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am notorious for leaving undecipherable notes that make no sense to me or anyone else that Elrond himself would not be able to decipher. Or, I write notes for the same scene twice and they both say different things.

Like that battle I had planned out in great detail?

Well, I have TWO versions. That wasted half an hour.


Go over your notes.

This is especially important if you have a large cast of characters or a lot of world building or just a gigantic plot that weighs about three hundred tons.

It’s easy (at least for me) to forget small things. Details about places, side characters, subplots, etc.

So I write things down. But there’s a problem with that. I write them down, and never ever, ever, ever, ever look at them again.

This has caused many problems and I do not advise ignoring your notes if you want your life to remain organized and your novel not to come out as a jumbling heap of words. 


Take a break

If you write EVERY FLIPPING DAY (like me-self), you’re going to burn out. When you hate your story and your eyes start bleeding are good signs to stop.

Sit back. Relax. Go to the beach.


Do what you need to do (thank you that was very specific).

Unlike first drafting, with editing you have to actually…think things through???? It’s a lot easier to pound out 1,000 words when you don’t give a hoot what they are.

But when you have to sit back and think…”how should this scene go?” *strokes beard as things get more difficult*

Give yourself time to think. Give yourself time to ponder. Brainstorm, make a pinterest board, go for a walk and accidentally join a bunch of dwarves and go kill a dragon.

Then write a book about it.

border for blog

I hope this was helpful. I hope this will make your editing journey less painful. So.yeah. *sits back, sips coffee, and continues staring out window*


commentfor blog



5 responses to “How to not lose your mind while editing”

  1. I keep notes as I write — mostly character names/descriptions, place names, and chapter summaries. It helps when I’m trying to remember in chapter 13 what I called that place in a previous chapter. It’s easier than going back a re-reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this post from writer Bernadette Benda on how to not lose your mind while editing from her blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Melanie V. Logan and commented:
    This is excellent advice!


  4. Great way to break down editing! It’s always hard to think through what you wrote, but it can be done with the help of notes, as you said. Though I think the best self-editing happens in response to notes written by other people (beta readers or editors), as they come at the book from an entirely different direction and give you something to respond to, besides your own words.

    By the way, you might find our Writers Club interesting. We help to find beta readers for authors, and even offer free editing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: