- Ensure that there’s an actual manuscript to edit. The book in one’s mind and imagination doesn’t count. The one on paper or saved in a computer hard drive does.
- Owning a copy of Strunk & White’s The Element’s of Style is a prerequisite to the job of editing. If you don’t have one, get one. Now. Before you read the rest of this blog.
- As well as S&W, a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing should be ever-present on your writing desk. Follow The King and you won’t go far wrong.
- Ensure enough time has passed between completing your manuscript and starting the editing process. A month or so should suffice. Any longer and you’re being lazy. I should know. I’m the lazy one.
- Read up on your chosen genre. Get tips from your favourite writers. Even better, get tips from your favourite writer friends.
- Make a deadline and stick to it. Procrastination works only in plays by Shakespeare. To write or not to write. To edit or not to edit. It’s a no-brainer really.
- Stock up on your favourite legal drug of choice; i.e, caffeine, chocolate, cigarettes (filthy habit) or gobstoppers.
- Play your favourite music if that’s your thing. I prefer silence when I’m writing and editing my novel and stories. But when I blog, a little music gets my juices flowing.
- Have a plan of action. Rushing in wearing hob-nail boots and causing untold mayhem will only result in an unreadable “masterpiece” (which is fine if you want to be postmodern) and a shattered confidence in one’s ability.
- Most important, this one. Run out of excuses not to edit. I did – and now I’m editing.