We often hear about the writing slump, sometimes the reading slump, but have you ever heard about the editing slump ? To be honest, even though I’m quite active on Twitter (compared to other social media), I think I’ve never read about it. I’m sure lots of people have already talked about it, I just didn’t see it personally.
And this is exactly what I’m going through right now, so I’m going to share with you my attempts at getting out of this – maybe some of these will work for you !
To tell you a bit more about the context, I’m planning to publish my second collection of poems in September, and I’ve reached my goal in terms of number of poems I wanted in this collection… in March. Yes. Since March I’ve been editing the thing, but I just can’t bring myself to sit still and actually finish the thing. We’re in the middle of August, and I’m done editing 50 pages out of around 200. These days it got worse because everytime I open the file I just hate everything and want to delete it all.
So, what do we do ?
#1 – Change of scenery. Editing is usually done on your computer, in a Word or Google doc file, right ? Try something different – print it and edit on paper, or download a PDF and read it on your phone (it’s quite easy to highlight and put notes with Adobe Reader). It is something that worked for me in the past, especially the printing everything. I can’t do it this time because well, too many pages to print and ink is not free, so I’m going to try the PDF on my phone. At least, only putting notes and nothing more will (hopefully) lessen the pressure I put on myself.
#2 – Let it rest for a bit. Sometimes, editing right after being done with your first draft just won’t feel right. Maybe you’re too much into the story and need to take a step back to see it in a more objective way (and thus, start editing). Put it aside for a little while, and then come back with a clearer mind. For me, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
#3 – Set a deadline/timeline. Let’s be honest, if you never set any kind of deadline for your writing project, it’s quite likely that you’re going to spend more time on it than if you had set one or multiple deadlines. That being said, I know that for example, I am not a deadline writer. I hate them. I like to write when I feel like it, and focus on the story rather than on how fast I need to finish writing it. But. Since I tried NaNoWriMo in 2021, I have to admit, deadlines can be good. I still hate them, but I know they can push me into writing a lot more. The thing is, if it’s only me setting them, somehow my brain doesn’t take them seriously. Really haha. If it’s NaNoWriMo, I can stick to it because I’m not the only one doing it and somehow it cheers me up. So for my new collection of poems, I ordered the book cover and started posting on social media about the cover and the release in September. Yeah, we do what we can to keep ourselves accountable, right ? I have no other choice but to publish that book in September now.
#4 – Find a writing/editing buddy. This is something that I’ve never done, but I feel like this is something worth trying. I’ve talked about my writing projects with some of my friends, but I guess it doesn’t feel the same when the other person is not a writer. I’ve seen a glimpse of that when participating in NaNoWriMo, and the energy you can get from a community/a fellow writer is real, trust me.
#5 – Trick your brain. I’d say that my editing slump comes from a place of self-doubt and a fear of failure – maybe it’s the same for you ? I overthink, and so my brain just shut down and only provides me with either “this is shit, delete it all” or a completely blank mind. So. The thing is to get started on editing your work before your brain catches up and start feeding you with negative thoughts. It depends for one person to another, of course. For me, I know that early in the morning is the best moment to do that, because I’m still sleepy (and not a morning person at all). Just like with any kind of slump, the hardest part is to get started.
Did any of these tips help you ? I hope so. If you have other tips to add to the list, please feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂
I hope you all have a lovely day, and see you next Wednesday ~