author, creative writing, writing

How to Stay Motivated During Edits

Edits. Edits. Edit. Editing a novel is a long process, and it can be all too easy to become disengaged. Maybe a new exciting idea has formed, and you want to work on that, instead of the novel you’ve read through already 100s of times. But you have to stay loyal to your work in progress. Finishing your novel and it’s edits is a huge stepping stone and learning curve for any writer. But how can we stay motivated during endless editing?

Remember your end goal
When you find your motivation lacking, remember your end goal. Maybe you want to send your story into a magazine, or a competition. Maybe you want to self-publish, submit to agents, or share it on your blog. Or perhaps it’s just something you’d love to achieve. It can be so easy to get caught up in the now, but take a peek forward and remind yourself of why you’re writing in the first place. You can’t publish, or submit, if you’ve not edited your story to a standard you’re happy with. Focus on that goal, and push towards it.
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Set mini goals
Does the above point sound a little scary, or a bit much? Sometimes the end goal is so far away that the thought of getting there is overwhelming. Try breaking it down into mini goals instead. Editing a page a day could be a start, and it could eventually evolve into editing a chapter per day. There’s nothing wrong with being micro-ambitious, in fact it has a lot of positives, and can help you stay on track with out feeling under immense pressure.
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Set deadlines
Oh, deadlines. Don’t we hate them? But they’re important little things all the same. Give yourself targets. These don’t have to be too big, or put you under too much strain. Choose a date by which you’d like to have finished editing a particularly tricky chapter. Choose a date you’d like to finish an edit completely. And eventually, set a date you’d like to send your story into the world. You’ll find yourself pushing forward to meet these deadlines, which can keep you on track and motivated.
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Get feedback
Motivation can waver for many reasons. Writers worry, writers doubt their work. It’s natural to fall into a pit of despair when things aren’t going well. So seek feedback. Find a beta reader or a critique partner, and ask them what they think. Not only will they notice mistakes/typos/plot holes, which can guide you through your edits, but they’ll let you know what works too. Hearing constructive and positive feedback is a real boost, and a great way to spur your on.
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Reward yourself
What could be more motivating than a cheeky treat? Set little editing goals, with a reward in mind at the end. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Maybe, once you’ve worked on edits, you’ll allow yourself some guilt free television time. Or you’ll tuck into a slice of chocolate cake. Or buy a new notebook. Whatever works for you, use these little things and reward your efforts. Writing a book is hard – you deserve it!
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How do you stay motivated during edits? I’m in the long process myself, and tips are always appreciated so do comment below.

Until then,
Keep editing,

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23 thoughts on “How to Stay Motivated During Edits”

  1. I add to my list: Three cups of warm water or herbal tee in the early morning, then exercises (yoga, running, body weight) and two hours a day strictly follow my own interests.
    Have a nice day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Keeping motivation in editing stages is definitely not easy, especially if the feedback tells you there’s still a lot to work on (my current state). For me, it’s about finding a trigger to break through the doubts and fears (such as ‘how can I manage to fix all of this?’) and pushing into the state where I just want to see the next draft, the story all the better for the issues I’m to fix.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great tips! Writing the first draft is always the fun part, but the editing is the bit that takes the most time and is the most exhausting task when writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a twist on setting mini-goals. With the search capability of Word, I have a list of checks: restate sentences containing ‘that’, find and remove certain words (started, sudden, see, look, very, think, etc.), check speaking consistency of each character, make certain each character is described, and so on. Tackling one or more of these per day keeps me moving forward. Unfortunately, read-through revisions are still necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great tips! I can be really BAD at staying motivated, but one thing I have found helps is taking breaks. Either when my work is out for feedback, so I’ll work on another project (preferably a first draft), OR, if I feel like my eyeballs will fall out if I edit anymore, I’ll take a short break and work another project, and then come back to editing with fresh eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Deadlines and mini-goals are wonderful advice. We can go crazy on this. Sometimes it can be so much we no longer see the story we’re trying to tell. That’s the moment where you take a breath and step away.

    This is a long process. It’s best to take our time in order to do it right.

    As always – Excellent topic. Thanks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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