Roadblocks while editing

Have you ever found yourself editing, things running smoothly, and all of a sudden you come upon a herd of mountain goats? All the progress you felt you were making is now at a standstill and you feel like you can’t move anywhere without running someone over?

Yesterday, we talked about taking breaks while editing, but what about roadblocks we run into while we’re editing? Roadblocks are things like running into the Alps of demotivation, finding a problem spot and having no idea how to fix it, or not knowing what should go or what should stay.

What do we do then?

Let’s take them one at a time.


Everyone runs into this at one point or another. I’ve never, ever met someone who was always motivated to do what needed to be done. The solutions here vary, but the one thing that doesn’t is taking the time to try to understanding WHY you’re feeling demotivated.

Have you been working on this project exclusively for too long?
Are other areas of life kicking you down?
Do you feel stuck?

It may take a bit of time and reflection to figure it out (or maybe, way deep down, you already know the answer to this), but once you do, it’s easier to break the rut and them get moving again.

What if you’re feeling stuck, though? What if your demotivation stems from not knowing how to solve a problem?

Unsure how to fix a problem spot

I am a big fan of getting input from others.

I’m part of a writing group on Facebook, Author’s Tale, and there are so many wonderful people in there who are happy to help work through an issue. Whether it’s trying to figure out wording or just asking how people deal with a certain issue, getting feedback from others is invaluable. Even if they don’t actually “solve” the problem, suggestions from others can get my brain rolling again.

Other times, I’ve reached out to my readers and brainstormed it through. I use them because they were already familiar with the work.

Even with all of these things, the biggest goat herd I run into when editing is figuring out which goats just HAVE to go.

How to decide what should go and what should stay

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you can find yourself become really attached to certain bits and pieces of your work. Maybe you really liked that example or you really wanted to use that one description, but it just doesn’t quite fit or chapter three is easily twice as long as all the others. How do you decide which goat goes the right with you and which ones go to the left to the slaughterhouse?

I know, it sucks! Believe me, I know!

Ultimately, though, isn’t our goal to make the best product we can possibly make? This can’t happen alone and it can’t happen without being willing to make some hard decisions about what you should keep of your stuff and what should go.

When in doubt, ask someone else. Someone who isn’t emotionally invested like you are can be a tremendous help in getting stuff cut and helping it to sound and read better.


These were some of the major roadblocks I could think of. What about you? What problems do you run into while editing? Where do you find you struggle the most?


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