I finished the first draft of my fifth novel at the end of June, so I spent the next three weeks doing three rounds of editing on it. Everyone’s editing process looks different, but here’s my system.

For the first round, I print it off double spaced and double sided. Then I take a red pen and let it bleed all over every page. I’m adding and subtracting and changing language. Creating more depth to the story, and looking for things that are obnoxious.

Once I’ve finished with that, I take those pages and implement the changes into the manuscript on Scrivener. I don’t usually make the changes wholesale; instead, they continue to evolve from how I hand-wrote them to what ends up in the software. Then I begin the extensive process of copy-editing everything in ProWritingAid before sending it off to my alpha reader, who’s also been reading the manuscript in chunks as I’ve written it and helped me in developing the story. Usually after that, it’s ready for a final proofread.

That process took up most of July. But for the last third of the month, I wrote the opening chapters to two different novels, trying to figure out one to write next. One is a family crime drama that starts in the immediate aftermath of my short story, The Murder Tree (which you can read for free on Kindle Unlimited or buy for $0.99). The other is a fantasy novel involving three friends who decide to hatch a dragon egg; calamity ensues. I still haven’t entirely decided which it will be.

Because July mostly involved editing rather than drafting, I only wrote 5400 words in July. That brings my total for the year to 84,100. With that, I should pretty easily surpass 100,000 words for the year again.

We’re nearly a week into August, and this is the first non-work-related thing I’ve written. There are a couple of reasons for that. Work has been totally chaotic for a while now. And I burned through a whole lot of creative energy writing 20,000 words in June to finish the fifth novel and doing three rounds of editing in July. I think my brain needed some recovery time, but we are nearing the time to re-engage it and write the sixth novel.