Editing Tips from the Anxious

I wanted to share some editing tips. My anxiety actually makes me a decent editor! Although I am not a professional or even partially good at grammar, I have a few ideas for you!

Read your manuscript out loud:

This is so important because reading out loud and reading in your head is very different. Personally, I notice so many more mistakes in my manuscript when I read it out loud.

Read your manuscript out loud… and don’t:

So, my actually strategy is to FIRST read the manuscript in my head while I am editing a chapter. Then I’ll edit the SAME chapter while reading it out loud. This is like doing two drafts at one time. It’s valuable to also not read the text out loud because that’s what your readers will do. You can see their perspective when you do that.

Edit your work, on paper:

I get it, your manuscript is 260 pages or more. Maybe even 500 pages or more! Give up the money and get it printed out at Staples or at home. The same thing that applies to reading out loud also applies to hand writing your edits. Also, get the hell away from your computer for a while!

 Use Beta Readers:

No one is going to steal your work! Honestly, someone could steal you work but there are so many ways to protect yourself. Do not let that be the reason you don’t use Betas. Figure out how to protect your work! I’ll share some tips on that soon. Stop being a Smeagol and share the precious.

Beta readers see things you didn’t and they don’t love the work as much as you do so they are usually unbiased. Also, you may not want to use your mom as a beta… just saying. Some moms are good. Others think you are just perfect and nothing you do could ever be wrong. Which is wrong…

Take a break:

I usually write my manuscript and then take a little while off before I go to editing. NaNoWriMo was the thing that really taught me to respect time off from a project. First of all, when I started NaNo this November, I had already written a 70k novel. I immediately took 2-3 weeks off to prepare for NaNo in which I outlined the proposed novel. I then commenced to writing 70k words in 25 days… Hell YEAH I’m taking all of December off!

During your break, you don’t have to do nothing. Pardon the double negative, but really, you don’t.

Optional: Edit two manuscripts at once, with caution:

I would advise doing this, just to help you get your mind off one manuscript or another, however! Do not mess this up! Set up a strategy to remember which manuscript you are working on and keep your facts straight. It may be best to avoid this with series because it may blur the lines on which doc you did the changes in and which you did not.

Just be careful!

My most anxious tip – Pay for editing:

I know this is highly debated, but I am on the side of shelling out cash for editing. Why?

  • You are not perfect.
  • You are not an editor.
  • Your betas are not editors (?).
  • You have seen your work 1,000,000 times, and you are numb.
  • You think you are perfect.

Let me be real: Your work is just not perfect.

I’m sorry to slap you, but let’s be real. Name your favorite author. Oh yeah! I like them too! Guess what? Their first novel was crap! As we grow as authors, our work only gets better. Even for a rockstar author, their work improved as they moved through their careers. Even rockstars use editors. Come on!

Basically every author alive used editors…

You have to present the VERY BEST version of your first published work to readers, literary magazines or agents.

Please get editing services. I have a wonderful editor who goes above and beyond for my novels. Develop a relationship with an awesome editor and they will help you get better and better. It is possible to find someone who fits your budget, I promise.

So my process is as follows:

  • On the computer, read a chapter in my head and edit it.
  • On the computer, read a chapter out loud and edit it.
  • The above creates a 2nd draft.
  • Next, print out my manuscript.
  • On the print out, read a chapter in my head and edit it.
  • On the print out, Read a chapter out loud and edit it.
  • This creates the 3rd draft.
  • Print out my manuscript and Beta Form for my betas.
  • Give them 3 weeks to read it.
  • Steal it back.
  • Input changes from betas.
  • On the computer, read a chapter in my head and edit it.
  • Send it to Michelle, my editor Goddess.
  • Get it from her.
  • On the computer, read a chapter in my head and edit it.
  • On the computer, Read a chapter out loud and edit it.
  • From here, I go back and forth with Michelle until my eyes and fingers bleed, trying to find every little error because I am so nervous that readers will hang me if they find even one little typo.

The heavy breathing stops and at that point, I release my manuscript into the wilds of Amazon. lol.

Sure, you’re probably not this psycho about editing, but I hope that you do take your work seriously enough to give it a good once over!

Got any tips for me? Comment below!

Love, Tiffany

Thank you for reading.

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