Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Are Editing Your Book.

Photo by Hannah Grace on Unsplash

This post was initially run on November 7th, 2016. However, life is still the same, and I hope you enjoy it again.

* * *

The inspiration for this list is, well, frankly, my latest labor over the editing process. I hope you enjoy the list, and I have done some of these things.

Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Are Editing Your Book.

10 If you are editing, do not think glasses of wine make the work go easier. If you do, at best, you’ll just have to do it over. At worst, you might inadvertently delete several chapters of your book under the belief that you have better ones in mind. (Aren’t you glad you had that backup file Goof-ball?)

9 If you are editing, do not think you can watch the football game while you work. If you do, at best, you will catch all your mistakes on the second go around. At worst, you think you found them all only to discover in reading a review the question, “What does a touchdown have to do with the relationship?” (Hmm, you can explain that, can’t you, Bunkie?)

8 If you are editing, do not decide to change a character’s name with “find and replace.” If you do, At best, you’ll catch the ones missed. At worst, you will have a new character named JerryTinyO.” (That extra space sure made a difference. Oh, and Tiny would like to see you. He’s over at the gym straightening out horseshoes.)

7 If you are editing, do not believe long breaks will enhance your work. If you do, at best, you will be editing this book forever. At worst, your continuity will go out the window, and your book will read like a short story collection. (You had not intended to publish short stories, did you, Ferd?”)

6 If you are editing, do not ask your friends to read the new edits. If you do, at best, the opinions will be so varied you’ll be confused. At worst, you will realize you need new friends and a new book. (You now wish you had just given it to an editor, right?)

5 If you are editing, do not try to do the whole thing in one sitting. If you do, at best, you will be exhausted. At worst, you may stop caring how the stupid book comes out and just want to get the damn thing done. (Your two-star reviews aren’t much of a reward, are they?)

4 If you are editing, do not snack to reduce stress. If you do, at best, you’ll need extra exercise hours. At worst, your snacking will resemble a runaway train from which there is no return. (Getting a grip is much more complicated when more of you, isn’t it?)

3 If you are editing, do not believe the rest of the family understands your pain. If you do, at best, you’ll feel misunderstood. At worst, you will constantly think of ways to take your angst out on your characters. (This book has taken on a sinister air, hasn’t it, Stephen?)

2 If you are editing, do not abandon personal hygiene. If you do, at best, you will be alone. At worst, your family could seek council with the local mental health provider, and you’ll get more help than you need. (You can still type with that white jacket on. Right, Buford?)

1 If you are editing, know when it is time to stop. If you don’t, at best, you will never finish the book. At worst, you will suffer PETS (Post Editing Traumatic Syndrome) and never sleep again. (You need to stop going over the text in your head. It has been published already.)

100 comments

  1. These are great, John! Number 2 cracked me up! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Enjoy your Monday as well, Jill. 😁

      Like

  2. Dear John,
    therefore one has an editor. But there are other dangers, f.e. falling in love with your editor (quite usual for authors, see Max Frisch’s “Montauk”).
    Wishing you an easy week and happy editing
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My editor kills off so many of my darlings I think falling in love might be difficult. “Admire “and “appreciate” are the words I would use. Thanks, Klausbernd.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, isn’t that the job of a good editor to kill your darlings. Dead darlings often make the text much better.
        Keep well, dear John
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is their job for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing today, Michael.

      Like

  3. Great advices, John! I’m leaning towards point 7. There are so many wellknown painting artist who were allowed to publish unfinished work. Why do we have not the same in literary? 😉 Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A good point, Michael. I don’t have an answer. I think the readers might get confused if the work was unfinished.

      Like

  4. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Here are some great editing tips in case you need them 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing, Chris.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All good advice, John. And perfect timing for me as I nearing the editing stage of a project.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I just finished myself. Thanks, Joan.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. PETS! Love it! 😂 These cracked me up, John. Thanks for sharing the Monday fun. Have a wonderful week. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you know, any author who does only self editing has a fool for an editor. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I could use one of those white jackets and a trip to the “spa.” Just a long weekend away would help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it would be great. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great (and timely) list John. Mea culpa on number 8 – I did that recently, and the old guy is still here. I guess I need the “and look in the corners” option for Search.

    I hope you have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I learned that one a long time ago. Lucky I learned it before being published. Thanks, Dan. Have a great week as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well… if I can’t do # 9, I’m not going to do it at all!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There you go. Don’t blame you. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lol, John! #5 cracked me up. I’ve actually done that. 🙂 Good list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it is tempting at the time. Never works though. Thanks, Jan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is, Thanks, Charles. 😁

      Like

  11. Brilliant

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww. Thank you, Lauren. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good ones, John. Editing can be a tough job, but it’s necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is ,Tim. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. John, I think I have a small dose of PETS every time I go to finish off a new post. I allow myself a couple read-throughs…just two…most of the time…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you had PETS you would never post. I think you are cured.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. And I thought wine would help with any writing. Guess I will have to stick to coffee at my laptop. Good ones, John, for any writing.

    I’m able to comment and like 99% of the time so far. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you on the 99%

      Like

  15. For #6, I would add writing workshops. You put the finishing touches on your manuscript, and they tell you it’s a rough draft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha. And so it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, so it goes . . . .:D

        Liked by 1 person

  16. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    All good advice here, John 🙂 I did try changing a name that way, then forever searching for that new word it created.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard to believe how many times the old name is mentioned. Thanks, Denise.

      Like

  17. Write without fear, edit without mercy…
    …I like that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can use it.

      Like

  18. Oh dear. Guilty as charged on more of these than I care to admit. The life of a writer can be challenging, can’t it, John?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a total challenge, Debbie.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Great ones and all true. I might add one – if you are editing your book, be sure to get up and walk around every hour or you will be frozen in your chair and have to be pried out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And if not careful shaped like the chair.

      Like

  20. 😂😂😂 Saint Truth, dear John. I’m preparing for this painful work soon. The book about Gregory & Peter is moving on well. Wonderful hours of editing & translation into English, French, Russian are ahead. My last worry IF my Italian editor comprehend well what I have done. 😪😪😪
    I wish you less painful editing time for ever! 🍤🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Less pain in editing forever? I’ll take it. Thanks, Dear Maria. I hope you have less pain as well. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    PETS? That’s getting close to home. 😄 Great list, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks Gwen.

      Like

  22. As someone once said: “Everybody needs an editor! And it shouldn’t be the author!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen brother.

      Like

  23. Silly wabbit, the wine comes later . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  24. As for number one, I am just sure I will agonize over things I should change after the book is published!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always do. Kick myself for not spending one more day agonizing over the book. Should pretend it’s alread published.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. petespringerauthor · · Reply

    Like the picture of a writer typing while wearing a straitjacket. We all are a little twisted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Pete. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Is that our friend Tiny’s full name? JerryTinyO. I wonder if he will be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No he was quite unhappy. That’s why he was preparing a knuckle sandwich.

      Like

  27. These are great, John! I haven’t tried #10, but I can only imagine! 🥂😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Lauren.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Some good advice, though football and wine sound good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Football and wine are always good. Thanks, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Ha. Enjoyed my “editing” refresher. Think that I have succumbed to many of these “Not To’s” at some point or another. (Apart from the American football one- only those “American” can understand why people watch such a boring game- Controversial-huh? just wait till the next bit) but I would suggest adding another to this list.
    (Now comes the controversy) Never hire a professional editor.
    I have hired a couple and had others foist upon me by publishers and mags. Some have been perfectly capable, others, grammar checkers and bad plotters. Yet they rarely understand what you (the author) wish to do with what you have written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I attended a football game in Dusseldorf once. The most excitement was watching the crowds turn over a bus after the game.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Write drunk, edit sober… isn’t that how it goes?
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hemingway said that. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, he did. 😉😁

        Liked by 1 person

  31. PETS. I’m laughing- hard!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Why do I think some of these were learned the hard way?!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are very wise, Luanne.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. This is the kind of advice I like!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Annabelle. My kind of advice too. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Sage advice, John, especially the wine and friend advice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Barbara. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Reblogged this on Kim's Musings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing my post, Kim.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  36. LMAO!
    Great advice given in the John Howell way!

    AROOOOOO! It’s a Howl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Resa. No better compliment. Here’s your A back. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ta!!!! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  37. This is brilliant, John. I especially liked the last point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robbie. That means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. These are informative as well as interesting to read! They all cracked me up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked them. Thanks for letting me know, Khushi. 😊

      Like

  39. Agreeing with all, especially #10 lol 🙂

    Like

  40. Wise words✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cherryl

      Liked by 1 person

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