Writers: On How To Organize Yourself When Revising


If you’ve ever revised your writing, you know how overwhelming it can seem…

So I just wanted to give some advice on how to tackle it.

This advice is for Step 7 in my Sixteen Steps to Revising. So once you’ve gotten your feedback from your critique partners and are ready to make the big picture edits your manuscript needs — this is what you do (if it works for you):

1. Gather Fuel Be it in the form of a run, coffee, or wine, get yourself geared up — you’re going to need it.

2. Make a List Once your done digesting your CP’s feedback and going back and forth with them a bit, asking questions and getting more feedback, make a list of all the revisions you want to make–everything from the big (eliminate this character, add in these scenes) to the small (change this character’s name, tweak this dialogue.)

3. Organize the list I like to organize it from big to small. With big revisions, like changing around timelines, you’ll likely have smaller notes underneath them — put this at the top of the list. With smaller revisions, like adjusting a day of the week, it’ll likely be just one line. Group all the small things together at the bottom of the list under “Small Things” or something like that.

5. Revise, one thing at a time I usually say tackle the big things first, at the top of the list, as that’s what works for me, but occasionally, when I get overwhelmed with some big picture revisions, I’ll skip down to the bottom of the list and Control-Replace a character’s name, or eliminate some unnecessary dialogue tags in a scene. So I can still feel like I’m getting something done while I take a break from the big stuff.

6. Keep track of what’s done I like to keep everything in a Google Word doc, written in black, as per usual–but once I’m done with a section of my list, I change the font to gray. That way my instructions to myself are still there if I need them, but the more gray the list gets, the less I have to do.

7. Check your list When you’re done, go through your list again and double check that everything’s done. This isn’t the final polish stage–you’ll have time for that later–but for now, make sure that everything you set out to do in this stage is done.

8. Have a drink You’ve earned it!

That’s my current revising method. Anything you would add? Let me know!

Image found here

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