The Editing Hole

I'm stuck in an editing hole, and not only am I not editing the things I need to edit, I'm not getting anything done.

I'm at a point where I have about 25 things on my personal task list, and 16 of them are editing related tasks: edit the article in this file, edit this fiction, edit this documentation, edit these would-be-blog posts, and so forth. It seems like I went on something of a six month writing bender, and while I did a little bit of editing during this period, I have clearly fallen behind.

There are a number of factors:

1. I've been making a point of putting editing tasks on the todo list because I want to make sure that I actually finish projects rather than just abandon them. I've not been particularly good with follow through in the past few years, so that's been a big personal improvement project.

The sad part is that my editing queue is probably 10-20 times larger, but I've got some projects on the less-actionable back burner.

  1. I'm not a very good editor.

I'm awful at copy (or otherwise) editing my own work, and while I know that I've become better at this in the past few years. I still know that it's not perfect and so it seems sort of futile, which makes it hard to get inspired to do editing.

3. I find writing to be rewarding, and given the choice I will probably always choose to write new stuff. While this is clearly a learned response to the kind of work, this doesn't make the effect any less real.

  1. I find editing to be really difficult work.

This is probably related to #2, but editing wears me out. I find it difficult to spend long periods of time editing, which makes it difficult to make any really substantial progress on the pile of editing tasks.

As a result, I take a long time to edit things, I'm most effective at editing in short bursts. I often want to break up longer editing tasks with other kinds of work just to keep a clean mind set. After a week or so of this, I have almost everything else done on the list, leaving me with a big pile of editing that looks even bigger for the lack of other things on the list.

So now, I'm trying the following:

1. I'm working on making editing tasks smaller, which will turn into more editing tasks, but it'll be possible to face editing tasks in units less than 10 or 20 pages.

  1. Make more tasks for other projects.

There are two ways to get stuff done: 1) You can be really focused and work on one project at a time until it's finished, or 2) you can be working on a lot of projects in parallel and when you start to loose focus, you switch to another kind of project. The idea is that you end up getting more done because you're being productive more of the time. I subscribe to the second theory.

Here's hoping it works!

Onward and Upward!

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