My Adventures In Editing – Part 4

Brooke Campbell on Unsplash

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last blog post. Time seems to change as we get older. That’s not exactly true, because it’s been subjective our entire lives. What am I talking about? Remember back to when you were a child… did time seem to pass in slow motion? What about when you finally turned twenty?

For me, time seemed to speed up when I turned twenty, and it has only become incrementally faster as the years have passed. My added challenge is chronic pain and fatigue. It touches every aspect of my life—an added bonus to living with Cerebral Palsy for 54 years and counting.

Since my last post on this subject, I finished all the revisions, which was an enormous job. The novel is much stronger as a result of these changes. I began my ninth draft in September, as I started the process of line editing.

What’s that you ask?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. I am reading every sentence carefully to find the minor errors my eyes have been blind to, up to this point. Finding the missing words my brain fills in because I know the story so well; including extra spaces, and missing punctuation caused by previous edits. I’m also watching for words and phrases I overuse in a sentence or paragraph and replace them with synonyms. I am also checking the dialogue to make sure each character’s voice is consistent and unique.

This type of editing requires the ability to focus intensely for long periods of time. I get into a zone or rhythm that I am loath to break. That is not good for a spastic body. The longer I sit without moving, the stiffer my knees get, and the more spastic the muscles in both of my legs and arms become. Eventually, the pain gets to be too much, breaking through my focus and forcing me to stand up, use my walker, and go on a slow walk around the main floor of my house. I should do this every half hour but, even with a timer ringing, it’s difficult to pull myself away from the computer screen.

Line editing is a slow process. I am working on chapter thirty as of tomorrow, with a third of the book left to edit. My goal is to finish by the end of this month, but September was a huge lesson about listening to my body. Because I pushed myself so hard, I had to take an entire week off at the beginning of October. I wasn’t sleeping well at night, and fatigue struck during the day, causing me to nod off sitting at the computer, sitting in my wheelchair, and especially when relaxing in my power recliner.

For the last two weeks, I have paced myself according to where my pain and fatigue fall on a scale of 1-10 (with one being the lowest and ten being the highest). If it’s higher than my normal of 8, I take a self-care day or two. I have also begun a very targeted wellness program, but that’s a blog for another day.

After I finish the line editing, I will send the ninth draft to a professional proofreader for the final stage of editing. Once I incorporate his edits into a tenth draft, I can begin learning about KDP publishing and formatting in preparation for self-publishing this novel.

The book cover is already being worked on with more information to come. Because I can see the light at the end of this tunnel, I am impatient to get there, but I must hold my emotions in check. This is a journey, and it doesn’t end with publication. That will simply add a new facet to this journey of being an author.

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