I suck at multitasking. I mean, REALLY suck at it. Sometimes I envy people who at the same time can be on the phone dealing with an important client, signing and inspecting documents, whilst thinking about a problem at home or about the kids, and at the same time (!!) arranging things for an office happening. I wish I had a fraction of that ability. How do you people do that? Seriously, HOW?

When I have to do something, I have to focus every bit of me to make sure it works the way I want it to work. It’s the same thing with my writing. I find it impossible to write and edit other material I have queued for the same day. I think I’m programmed to finish one thing first, as best as possible (my perfectionist side doesn’t always kick in, thank God), and then move on to the next task. What this means is that, now that I’m editing my book, I find it very hard (if not impossible) to write. It’s not that I don’t have ideas. It’s that I feel that by doing one, I rob the other from the time and effort I should be putting into it. Why edit for 4 hours when I can edit for 6? Why write for 3 hours and edit for 2 more, when I can write for 5? Why is it that although I know how important editing is I feel that I should be writing instead? That I’m falling behind? I think my mind is weird or just messed up šŸ˜›

Last week I told you about my editing process. I think we can all agree that such a process is time consuming. I finished the first draft in 5 months (I wrote half of it on my cell phone, which is why it took me that much), but I don’t think I’ll have it edited in a year. Two is probably more like it. And in that time? Will I get no writing done? At all? That’s scary.

What about you? Do you write your WIP, edit another work, then read or do you only focus on one thing, no matter how long it takes you? Are you like me or am I the only one?

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9 thoughts on “Staying focused while editing

  1. In many ways, I envy your ability to stay focused. I am in the process of editing a WIP but can only stay at it for about 2 hours before I can’t think anymore and then I have to do something else. If I were you I wouldn’t worry too much. It seems to me that your process is pretty organic and it’s never a good idea to go against the flow. šŸ™‚

    1. So I shouldn’t feel guilty for not writing new stuff then? You’re right. Each person is different, and I’m only at the beginning of the journey. I guess I can always convince myself to take to take a couple of weeks off editing the novel, and write and edit a short story instead. I just have to convince myself. Easier said than done šŸ™‚

  2. Everyone has their own way of being and doing. If we are all waves of energy, then there should be a place for everyone too. Your place is focused and singular. And perhaps that is only a learning thing too. I agree with Carol, go with the flow. But maybe just jot your ideas down, if it’s going to be a long time between dipping your toes in writing waters. It’s a form of writing too. And also, lots of writing happens in your brain when you aren’t looking. You just might be cooking up a new story without realising it.

  3. You’re right. I have jotted lots of ideas for a few more novels. To a certain extend, I guess rewriting whole sections of a novel could qualify as writing. If not writing new material and new ideas, then beautifying existing ones. It’s a good thing I can’t abandon something without finishing it first. Otherwise, I’d have a heaps of unfinished stories or partially edited. Thanks for your comment šŸ™‚

  4. If I might suggest, make a plan. All of your stress is related to this one statement – “Iā€™m only at the beginning of the journey.” Knowledge, experience and self-discipline are the answers to your quandry.
    1. Take writing courses. Learn the rules that govern writing and editing.
    2. Begin by learning how to write nonfiction articles (even if you hate them) because nonfiction outsells fiction five to one, has less rules, writes easier and quicker and offers the best writing foundation.
    3. Take the equivalent of these three courses in this order to get a good foundation: nonfiction, creative writing, short story.
    4. When you have absorbed the rules presented in these courses and can put them into daily practice, it’s time to think about writing a book.

    I hope you find this helpful. Feel free to ask questions. Good luck.

    Deborah Owen

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