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How to Survive the Revision Process (and Edit with Confidence)


"How To Survive The Revision Process (and Edit with Confidence) blog post cover. Pink and blue.

Love it or hate it, the editing process is far from easy. Through my many perils (and occasional joys) with editing my work, I've grown so much. Today I'm going to share some of what I've learned along the way with YOU. If you're in the revision process right now (or just need someone to cheer you on with your writing), this is the post for you. I pray it encourages you to press forward and gives you strategies to edit with confidence.



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SURVIVAL TIP 1 | PRAYER

I used to wonder why God would care about my editing woes, thinking that it was too trivial a matter for Him to bother with. Not true. He cares for us and ALL of our endeavors. He's the One who gave you your story in the first place, and I promise you, He will bring it to completion. You just have to ask.


One night I was so discouraged with my story, all I wanted to do was rip it to shreds and hurl it in an incinerator (that sounds dramatic, but that was genuinely how I felt). In my despair (editing often brings me to such extremities), I cried out to God and asked him to give me hope again. And guess what? He did. He dried my tears, helped me back to my feet, and brought my story to His completion.


Though it may not be easy, God teaches us important lessons amid difficulty. So pray and ask Him, "Who do you want to be for me in the season? What is it you want to teach me?"


Ask Him to help you, meet you where you are, and encourage your spirit. God loves to stand in the places where we are weak. In fact, I think it's the place He loves to stand the most because it's where we get to deeply encounter Him, rely on Him, and magnify His glory in our lives.


So let me reassure you: God, the Master Storyteller, cares and is delighted to help you. Even when you don't see it, He is teaching you something. Even when you don't feel it, He is right there with you.

scrapbooking with watercolors, flowers, and pens


SURVIVAL TIP 2 | REST

Let's face it, editing is very mentally draining (whether you enjoy the process or not). Thus, rest and rejuvenation are vital.


I like to think of rest and productivity as a dance. Each has its part and is equally important. When one gets out of balance, the dance fails in effectiveness and the dancers stumble over one another.


One thing that helps me maintain this dance while editing is sprinting. 25 minutes of working, 5 minutes of rest. Or 1 hour of working, 20 minutes of rest. Try setting a timer and do this for yourself!


Don't fall into procrastination, but don't be a workaholic either. Actually take breaks. When the timer rings, GO TAKE A BREAK. GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND TAKE A BREAK. (Not me preaching to myself here lol...) I often get so wrapped up in productivity that I simply forget to pause and rest. This, inevitably, leads to burnout.


I say this a lot and I'll say it again: How can you expect to pour into your writing project when your creative cup is empty? Because believe it or not, the editing process (no matter how monotonous) requires a great deal of creativity and problem-solving. (Far more than the drafting process, in my opinion, but that's beside the point.)


Take care of not just your physical health, but your mental and emotional health as well. It's not easy, but by finding a balance between productivity and rest and investing in practices that rejuvenate you, you'll be better equipped to tackle revisions.

the sun and her flowers book with coffee cup and Mac computer


SURVIVAL TIP 3 | CHECKLISTS

How many times do you think of your editing project only to be pummeled by a wave of anxiety? With all you have to do, all the edits you have to make, and all the messy descriptions and plot holes awaiting you; it's easy to feel overwhelmed.


Zero in and focus on one issue at a time. Organize the editing process into manageable tasks. I can pretty much guarantee you that what seems overwhelming at first is quite manageable when you break it into action steps. It's so simple, but it's a lifesaver.


Here's a (very small) glimpse into what my editing process looks like:


1) Read through the whole manuscript and make a comprehensive list of what needs to be fixed.

2) Edit big picture elements (i.e., fixing plot holes, strengthening character development, weaving in and adjusting themes).

3) Implement feedback from alpha and beta readers

4) Edit small picture elements (i.e., sentence structure, dialogue, grammar, and spelling).


Make a checklist and tick the boxes when you finish an assignment. (It's literally SO satisfying. There's just something about checking off a to-do list that skyrockets motivation like nothing else. At least for me.)

busy desk image with plants, books, and a pink mug


SURVIVAL TIP 4 | ACCOUNTABILITY

Breakthrough = follow-through. This is something my mom tells me often, but I didn't realize how true it was until I completed my first, polished manuscript.


It takes follow-through with the editing process to experience a breakthrough with it. There are few things more satisfying and encouraging than completing something hard. However, in order to get to this point, we need accountability.


Try asking a friend or critique partner to help you stay on track with your checklist and deadline (if you have one).


If you don't have an accountability partner, you can be your own. Set up reward systems for yourself. Ex: when I finish editing this chapter, I get to have chocolate. (This seriously works, at least for me, because I'll do almost anything if it means I get chocolate at the end.)

desk with white keyboard, teal notebook, and a rose


SURVIVAL TIP 5 | SELF TALK

I need to work on this one.


Self-talk is everything. Everything. I've had to learn this the hard way since I tend to have a very self-deprecating sense of humor. Please stop saying your writing is bad. Even if you're joking. It is not helpful whatsoever.


Learn to reframe feedback and view your writing objectively. STOP SAYING, "I'm a bad writer because a good writer wouldn't have this much criticism. A good writer would not be struggling with this. A good writer would have done ____ better..."


Instead, begin saying things like, "I have a good story and revisions will make it GREAT. I am a capable writer, and implementing this feedback will make me the best I can be. Now that I know what the problems are, I can go about fixing them..."


Resist the temptation to complain about the editing process, and believe that you are a writer for a reason. The editing process is ultimately going to make you BETTER. Not only will your manuscript improve exponentially, but so will your character and overall skills as a writer.

stake of books with light pink headphones


SURVIVAL TIP 6 | AESTHETICS

Of course I'm talking about this. Of course I am. Aesthetics are a not-so-secret passion of mine.


I say this quite a bit on this blog already, but I'm a huge believer in creating the right atmosphere for work. Just because you're editing doesn't mean that creativity has to stop. Ideas and innovation flow when clutter is eliminated and beauty is brought in.


Organization and balance are key here. Don't overdo it with aesthetics (because this will actually drain mental energy), but be intentional about incorporating inspiration into your process.


Keep your manuscript organized and formatted in a way that's productive for you. Bring in music and ambient sounds that go with the scene you're working on. Improvise your desk space. Find what works for you and surround yourself with things that inspire and fuel you.


Have fun with the different fonts and font colors while editing. You could even color-code your manuscript or have a separate font for each character. Experiment!


Ask yourself: How can I bring more beauty and order into my workspace?

aesthetic whit desk with laptop, notebooks, decor, and letter board


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I hope this post inspires you and helps make the editing process a little easier. Remember when it gets hard, it is ultimately bringing you to a better destination. You can do it, my friend. I believe in you. Go show your manuscript who's boss!


"I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

(Philippians 4:12-13)



LET'S TALK

Are you in the trenches of editing right now? Do you love or hate to edit? (I'm learning to love it 😅) What gets YOU through revisions? ARE CHECKLISTS MAGIC OR ARE THEY MAGIC? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!




Now go change the world,

-Ava



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13 Comments


Issabelle Perry
Issabelle Perry
May 01, 2023

Oooo I LOVE this post, Ava!!!! You had so many good tips, and I'm definitely seconding the checklist one! I regret all the editing struggles I've been through just because I didn't take the time to figure out what exactly I needed to edit and make a list. XD CHECKLISTS ARE DEFINITELY MAGIC. XD I have a more mild, almost indifferent feeling with editing. Like sometimes I love it. Sometimes I despise it. Most days I just know that I've gotta do it so there's no point in begrudging and holding off the inevitable. (Oh, also I LOVE the aesthetic tip!! That's something I am definitely gonna remember when it's time to go into edits again!!)

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Ava Hope
Ava Hope
May 02, 2023
Replying to

Aww, Is, thank you so much!! That's so sweet! Oh, same here! XD THEY SERIOUSLY ARE. Mm, that's so true, and that's such a great mindset to have! I tend to despise it and so I procrastinate, haha. We're working on it.😂 (Yess, me too! I haven't used it for many of my past projects, and it's been a game-changer for me). Thank you for reading, friend! ❤️

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Grace Johnson
Grace Johnson
Apr 29, 2023

I'm about to start edits on a short story, so this is PERFECT timing!!! Saving this for reference!! :D

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Ava Hope
Ava Hope
Apr 29, 2023
Replying to

Yay! Aww, you're so welcome, Grace! ❤️ Best of luck with your short story :D

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Annabelle Batie
Annabelle Batie
Apr 29, 2023

Awesome post! I REALLY dislike editing my own books, but editing other people's books is always super fun for me. 😂 Probably because it's a new fresh story that I'm not tired of yet.


These are great tips, and I'll definitely be referencing this post once I get to the editing stages in my next novel!

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Ava Hope
Ava Hope
Apr 29, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Annabelle! ❤️ Girl, I'm right there with you! 😂 I can definitely understand that. Ahh, I can't wait for your next novel.😊

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CHECKLISTS ARE MAGIC AND I WOULDN'T BE SANE TODAY WITHOUT THEM.

*ahem* This post was AWESOME! I'm going to be editing in two weeks (*gulp*) and honestly, I've never been able to get myself to fully edit a project. But THAT WILL BE CHANGING. XD Thank YOU so much for this post!! <33 You may have saved my life. ;)

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Ava Hope
Ava Hope
Apr 29, 2023
Replying to

YESSS RIGHT!?

Pearl, thank you so much! I'm so happy this could help you!❤️😊 Wow, good luck with editing! That is so exciting. :D You got this, girl! *cheers for you*

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Deigan Marie
Deigan Marie
Apr 28, 2023

Girl, THANK YOU SO MUCH.


I am literally in the midst of editing my novella, and I totally needed this. And even though I typically loved editing, this book is . . . . very draining. 😅 I definitely love the chocolate idea!!! (#motivatedbychocolate) and, I must say I agree with you, checklists are AWESOME!!!


Great post, Ava, as always. <3 *huggles*

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Deigan Marie
Deigan Marie
May 12, 2023
Replying to

Aw, you bet! *hugs* Lol, glad to know I'm not alone!! Thank you so much! 😊

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