Things you’ll need:
A draft of your novel
Snacks (candy is preferred)
Social media avoidance
Directions: Start by turning on your computer and opening the draft of your manuscript. Stare at your novel for at least fifteen minutes before beginning. This step is crucial in building up the confidence and motivation to edit said novel.
Then, begin editing the manuscript. I prefer to go page-by-page when editing, but you can skip around to different chapters or scenes as you deem necessary. Use the outline of your novel as a guide to help line up scenes, dates, and any other important things you didn’t bother correcting when you were first writing the manuscript.
As you edit, you may find it difficult to stay focused. When this happens, I suggest taking that time to add in the classical music. I tend to edit best with silence, but sometimes that gets entirely too quiet. Listening to classical music – piano especially – is a good way to make editing more fun without distracting yourself too much. You can pick up your preferred brand of classical music on any Pandora or Spotify station, among other places.
You may find that even classical music isn’t helping you edit. If this is the case, it may be time to take a break. To take a break, click the save button on your manuscript approximately four times before closing it. Then close you computer and take out you book. Read the book until you are inspired enough to get back to writing your own novel. As you conclude your break, open your computer and manuscript back up and begin working.
Repeat these steps as many times as is necessary to complete your novel. While you’re working, you can mix in the snacks as an extra source of motivation. I’ve found candy to be quite effective for this. Also during this time, it’s especially helpful that you use the social media avoidance to stay focused. This means you may blog a little less and not check Instagram as often as you used to. You should, however, sprinkle in time on Twitter, because you have to allow yourself some fun.
Emotional endurance is necessary to use throughout the entire editing process. There will be many times when you’ll want to give up and not work on your novel, but you’ll have to dig deep and keep going. I’ve found that naps are especially useful in keeping up my emotional strength.
After successfully combining all of these ingredients for some days (or weeks, or possibly months), you will have an edited manuscript! You can then take this manuscript and feed it to prospective literary agents.* Or, you know, just ask them to read it. Whichever way you think will get them to help you publish your book.
Do you have any editing recipes you’d like to share?
*Disclaimer: Mackenzie does not actually encourage feeding anyone a book, published or unpublished.