Monday, I got the comments from two of my editors and a content consultant on an ongoing project. My biggest realization so far? I touch my face constantly while I’m thinking. Con-stant-ly. And it isn’t like the comment are horrible. A month ago I wouldn’t have noticed this but now I do. Ah, well.
It can be easy to be overwhelmed when you get comments back from your critique group or your editors. After all, I have something like 127 comments on a 15,000 word manuscript. But here are three things that you can do that will help.
- Read through all comments before responding or making any changes. When my editor sends me comments from the team, she always asks when I can have things done. Monday morning? Friday afternoon? Before I answer her, I read all of the comments. Yes, this takes some time but I actually feel less pressure if I have some clue what it is expected.
- Wait until the next day before you get started. Wait? I’m on a deadline? Wouldn’t it be better to get started right away? Actually, it works best when I let my subconscious noodle things over for a while. That way if something seems HUGE or problematic, I’ve had a bit of time to process it.
- Schedule frequent breaks. As you work through the comments, keep an eye on your energy level and state of mind. When you find yourself looking for an easy comment to tackle vs just working on the next one, sometimes that’s okay. After all, some questions need to germinate a bit before you find the answer. But when you realize that you are skipping back and forth and not actually doing anything, it is time to stop. In fact, I generally try to take a five minute break every half hour. I get up. I move around. Maybe I sweep or fold a bit of laundry. But I make sure I get a change of scenery and some motion. Then I get back to work. Every two hours or so I take a break that is at least 20 minutes long.
Writing takes a lot of energy. It also takes time – time to process what you need to do but also time to do it. These three tips can help.