Not long ago I started and finished a tiresome editing project that had been hanging over my head for about a month. In my defense, I can say the delay was the result of holidays and an excruciating back spasm. But if I were being totally honest, I’d also have to admit I was, well, procrastinating.
I finally finished the job with reasonable dispatch by working for a total of nine hours—three hours per day—over a long weekend. As I diligently put in my time, I noticed that editing is a bit like trying to lose weight. So with apologies to Oprah, Jenny Craig and Dr. Atkins, here are three dieting tips that also work for editing:
1. Have a clear goal that is both measurable and realistic. Not very many people succeed when they vaguely set out to “lose some weight.” You need a number—is it 10 pounds or is it 50?—and you need a plan.