My Editing Process

Within the writing process, one can find a few subsections. One of these sections is editing. I once thought of editing as extremely boring and time-consuming, but I’ve learned to view it a bit differently. One of the many writers I follow is Jenna Moreci (she’s a Youtuber with a hilarious sense of humor that I highly recommend!). During one of her videos about self-editing, she made the point that she doesn’t view editing as fixing the times you messed up. Instead, she points out that finding things to change in your work shows that you’re a better writer than you were yesterday. That really stuck with me, and editing isn’t so grueling anymore. Just a little food for thought!

Anyhow, I have a very particular style of editing that I use for my manuscript to keep everything aligned and the thousands of words and changes that need to be made a little less overwhelming. There are countless ways to edit, but this is just how I rock-n-roll. Now, this is for when you have your manuscript printed out as I really wouldn’t recommend trying to write on your computer screen. 🙂

Firstly, I have a lucky pen. Okay, this might sound cheesy, but I totally have a lucky pen that I use for just about everything. My entire writing notebook is written in the same ink and most of my copy- and line-editing are as well. My personal lucky pen is a Papermate Profile 1.4b. The ink is super smooth and it doesn’t have that awkward lack of ink when you first write with it. So whenever I’m editing, you can bet I’m using my pen.

Highlighters are my saving grace. Not only does it make your manuscript look pretty, I find color-coding makes everything a lot easier. There are four colors I use, but you can use more or less as it suits you. My key is as follows: pink for restating, yellow for fact-checking, green for out of character, and blue for word-choice. Any small grammatical changes are usually made with my pen, but this is for big sections of writing that would get too messy if I tried to fix it on paper. If you think you might forget what the colors mean, I recommend making a key in your writing notebook.

Don’t be afraid to use Post-Its. This tip works either on the computer or on a print-out copy. No matter where you are working, I recommend having a stack of stickies with you at all times. I mostly use them if there is a major change I decide to make while I’m editing, but there are no rules of how you can use them. For example, if I decide to give someone a thicker accent, I could write the note, “Give Jackie a thicker Brooklyn accent during dialogue.” Then, I would either stick it on the edge of my computer screen or somewhere I’ll see it while I continue working. This will keep it fresh in your mind and give you a gentle reminder to make sure you keep making that change throughout the rest of the process. Yes, I am aware that some new features are aware on some writing software that allows you to make digital notes, but I’m a pen and paper girl.

So, those are my tips for the editing process! How do you edit? Are there any tips I missed that you find helpful?

Best of luck on your editing!

— J. L. Willow

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