How to Get Over an Editing Block

editingWriter’s block is talked about all the time—how frustrating it can be to stare at the blank page for hours upon hours and not be able to come up with a single, satisfying paragraph to fill it. There are tons of blogs dedicated to overcoming writer’s block, including one by DiggyPOD. Less talked about, however, is editor’s block. Now, if you’re lucky, you’ve never fallen prey to editor’s block. More likely than not, though, you have. With editing being such an important step, editor’s block can be a debilitating pause in your publishing process.

Editing is especially important in self-publishing. With no editor from a publishing house assigned to you, you must take on the bulk of the work. Because of this pressure on you, the writer, you may experience editor’s block. Here’s some tips and advice on how to break through the block and get to work on your manuscript—publication awaits!

Stuck in an editing block? Read something else.

Sometimes all you need is a break from your own words. Think about it: you’ve been looking at this manuscript for months—maybe even years. Take a break from your own work. Pick up your favorite book and give it another read through. Take notice of what you like about the work. Is it the sentence structure? The word choice? The plot development? Immerse yourself in another writer’s words and allow your creative juices to take a break. Once you feel inspired and rejuvenated by your favorite book, go back to your manuscript and try to emulate what you’ve just read.

Take a break from words.

Maybe what you need isn’t to read anything else. Maybe your brain has gone into overdrive and needs a little de-stimulation before it can be productive again. In this case, do something that relaxes you. Watch TV, workout, or listen to music. Whatever you need to do to turn your brain off for a little bit, do it. Don’t get discouraged if this takes awhile. Once you’ve rested, you’ll be able to tackle that manuscript with renewed vigor. 

Have someone else edit it.

Getting someone else to workshop and edit your work may jumpstart ideas you have. It can be hard to edit your own writing, the very simple reason being you wrote it. You made decisions that you were happy with, and that’s how the manuscript came to be. Going from being the writer to being the editor can be an awkward transition. Have a friend or a colleague edit it first, that way you can see their critiques and be inspired to make some of your own.

Go to the experts.

Still stuck? Consult a book on writing. Sometimes the best way to approach your manuscript is with the knowledge of established and respected authors. Here are some excellent book choices when you’re feeling a mental block of any kind—writing or editing.

Mental blocks happen to the best authors. It’s a natural symptom of being a writer. When these moments occur, don’t be discouraged, that can only make it worse. Instead, work to break through it. When your book is published and in your hands, you’ll be glad you did. All you need is to give your brain a break to make it want to work again.