Whenever I start a new editing project, I have to prepare myself.
In between projects, I'm doing a multitude of things - teaching, reading (students' work, books for review, etc.), grading, prepping lectures, being a sister, a best friend...and the list goes on.
The last thing I want is for these things to distract me - especially on the first day of editing.
I usually take an hour to prepare. I grab the first chapter of the manuscript and a cup of coffee, and I go into a quiet corner and read - purely for pleasure. The dreaded blood-red pencil is far away on a desk somewhere.
I do this to unwind. I do this to discard all the goings on of the day and to focus on the task at hand. I do this to acquaint myself with the style, flow, characters, ideas behind the story. That first chapter needs to do a LOT for the reader, and I know that if I can sit and read it without being "the editor", then I can commit myself to the project.
Once I read the chapter for pleasure, I head to my computer and I play about 15 minutes' worth of Christian music. A little prayer for a good edit can't hurt, right? But really, I do this to loosen me up, to lift my spirits, and to get me ready for the next event: EDITING.
On the first day, I do editing jags. A jag is concentrated work within a specific amount of time. When I write, I do either 30-minute or hour long writing jags to spark my creativity...or to force me into creativity.
I do the same for editing. I tend to do hour long editing jags in a quiet location. After an hour, I'll stop, maybe make more coffee, meditate, read my Bible, whatever is conducive to keeping me peaceful.
Depending on my success with the first jag, I can do several more in one day.
Once I have those initial pages edited, I'm committed to the piece, and I know I want to work hard to make sure the manuscript is the best it can be.
How do you prepare yourself to tackle editing?
Shon Bacon is better known online as ChickLitGurrl. An author, editor, and educator, Shon's biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically; she interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING, and you can learn more about Shon's writings, editorial services, and thoughts at her blog The World According to ChickLitGurrl.