If you write as well, you’ll know that editing is a necessary evil. It’s pure drudgery, reading your story over and over until you hate it, finding mistakes, fixing it, polishing it. It turns a terrible story into a great one, but it’s no fun doing it.
That’s the stage I’m in at the moment. It’s the first draft, so mistakes are plentiful. It’s like staring at the top of the mountain from the foothills.
You know what’s really helpful when you’re in the middle of a long editing session? KNOCKING OUT THE POWER CABLE.
I think astronauts in space heard my shriek of frustration.
Now, I’m a big proponent of turning regular saving into muscle memory. Finished a paragraph? Hit enter, hit save. Thinking about how to phrase something? Any pause means hit save.
But for some reason, I just don’t have the same inbuilt response when editing. So, by the time I coddled the computer back to life, I realised I was several pages behind where I was previously.
Fine. I started over again immediately, putting in the edits while they were still fresh in my mind. I’m pretty sure I got most of them in. It cost me about two hours all up, so it was annoying, but not the end of the world. By the time I was done I was ready to do something else for a bit, so I hit save and closed the window.
What do I see sitting behind it? Recover previous file.
In hindsight, this seems pretty obvious. But in my panic not to forget all the changes I made, I dove straight in to re-editing without checking if the computer had saved my butt. Which it had. But I hadn’t seen it. Cue another hour of making sure the new edits matched the old. Some of them did. Some of them didn’t.
So. We have a couple of lessons to learn here.
1. SAVE. Particularly if you’re in a part of the process that’s no fun. But save all the time anyway. It’s surprisingly hard to pull out the same thought twice.
2. DON’T PANIC. Check if any of your fail-safes have worked, before going straight into overdrive. Could save a lot of pain.
What’s some golden rules you’ve found when writing?