My editing essentials

This really isn’t the easiest time of year for keeping motivated and focused on an edit. The burst of enthusiasm that January brings has passed, and yet it’s still very much still winter. The cold, wet days are taking their toll and, whilst there’s a glimmer of hope in the lengthening hours of light, springtime – let alone summer – still feels a very long way away.


At this point in the last two years I’ve been in the early stages of first drafts, when everything is exciting and new and I’veย just been able to write without fear of getting it wrong. But this year I’m attempting the third draft of my latest novel, and whilst it’s actually going pretty well I’m having to pull out all the stops to keep things that way.

So I thought I’d share my editing essentials: the crucial elements that have kept me going when the going’s got tough, the crutches I’ve turned to when I’ve been sorely tempted to curl up under the duvet (or at least under a blanket on the sofa whilst Arthur watches The Lion King for the umpteenth time).

First on the list is…


No surprises there then. I have always really appreciated a decent cup of coffee, and since Leigh bought me a gorgeous DeLonghi coffee machine for my birthday last year it’s become something of a ritual.


I like my coffee organic and strong, with a generous serving of frothy milk. One with breakfast, and another (with a large glass of water for good measure) when I sit down to write.

Almost as important for firing up the brain cells is…


I’m generally on a bit of a healthy eating tip at the moment, but decent dark chocolate is definitely one of my weaknesses. My brand of choice is Plamil – organic, nut free and delicious – and I will invariably enjoy a couple of squares of their ginger chocolate, or if we’re out of that a handful of chocolate drops, whilst I sit down and gather my thoughts.

For that of course I need a bit of peace and quiet, which is one of the many reasons why I love my…


I have made no secret on this blog of my love for the Connecta baby carrier – and in fact you will find me extolling its virtues over on their blog too. But it really has been invaluable for the tricky business of writing whilst looking after a toddler.


Arthur still naps in the sling, as he has ever since he was a tiny baby. I think the fact he enjoys his cuddles so much is one of the reasons why he still often has two naps a day. The design of the Connecta means that it is essentially supporting him to sit on my lap, so his (ever increasing) weight is spread evenly and unless he has a really monster sleep it’sย pretty comfortable. And knowing that he is safe and close and happy means that I can focus all my attention on my work.

And for that I am still reliant on…


My discovery of this software has done wonders for my organisation. I found it great to write the first draft in, following my carefully planned structure and using the daily targets to keep me motivated, and now I’m deep into the edit it’s really coming into its own. I love how I can flit back and forth, move things around or cut them out completely safe in the knowledge that I can still get them back if I need them. I can keep an eye on my word count, and refer back to all the bank of research that I built up whilst I was writing the first draft. And all in one window.

Though when I’m tired of looking at that one, I can instantly refresh my soul by looking out of another at…

The view

I always dreamt of one day living by the sea, and more specifically having a place where I could write looking out over it. When that dream became a reality I was worried at first that the view might be a bit too beautiful and would distract me from getting anything done. As it happens though, that’s not a problem. I think my big computer screen helps – I have to consciously shift my gaze to get away from my manuscript. But there are times when I’m getting so frazzled that I really need something to give me a break from it all, and looking out at the big open sky and the ever-changing landscape of the seaย is just the ticket.


And that’s about it! Those five things have done a sterling job of keeping me on the straight and narrow so far, and I’m hoping I can continue to rely on them over the next few weeks as I bring this edit to a close.

How about you? What are the things that help you keep your focus when you’re writing (or editing)? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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30 thoughts on “My editing essentials

  1. maddy@writingbubble

    Great list of fabulous stuff – I love your view! I really do need to check scrivener out – I bought it a while back (got money off for winning camp nano and thought i would take the opportunity) but I’ve failed to use it so far. I’m finding this time of year pretty dreadful for getting any writing done but what helps me is a cup of tea and closing the windows/tabs of FB and twitter otherwise I’m constantly distracted! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting xx

  2. Nicola Young

    Oh my gosh that view Sophie. Is it real? I wouldn’t get any work done if I had that to look at everyday! I’m with you on the coffee though. Not only does it sharpen the mind, it helps you type faster too (it does me anyway). I’m lucky I don’t need to entertain young children during the day anymore. Looks like the sling has come in useful, though don’t you get achy shoulders from leaning forward to type? (Says the girl with back problems).

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      The view is indeed real. It can admittedly get a bit distracting on especially beautiful days! The sling is surprisingly comfortable considering what a lump Arthur is now… It actually helps me remember to sit up straight ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  3. Dana

    I simply adore this post. And can relate to nearly all except for your incredible view which I am absolutely drooling over, is that actually from your window, because if so omg!!

    Yes to coffee (second to the view is my envy of your gorgeous machinery) and chocolate, and napping children. I loved napping my babies in a carrier though with my first I could never sit down (very very unfortunate) and my second quit his earlier than I would’ve liked. I love that your toddler can snuggle and sleep while you write. Simply dreamy, pun intended!

    I’m also on what feels like my third novel draft though I’m farther along in page count than previous attempts, and I agree that I need all the motivation I can muster to keep my interest going some days.

    Good luck to you, and thanks for this inspiring post!

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      Ah I’m so glad you found this post inspiring. My whole writing set up does feel pretty idyllic when it works ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope your edit is gong well x

  4. Honest Mum

    Gorgeous post, love your happy-makers that keep you writing/ editing/ creating-oh and what a view. I think when I’m blogging or screenwriting it has to be on the kitchen table, the kitchen generally being a sun trap but I position myself so it’s never in my face, furiously tapping away with a toddler running in and out, usually my Mum behind him, breaking for cuddles and chocolate too (always), apples and coconut shavings are favourites as well, and you know, somehow I find the distractions, time limits and food cravings all add to it, art and its creation has always, throughout history had to overcome limitations (usually time and budgets) and I think my best ‘stuff’ is borne under pressure! It’s how I roll! Loved this x

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      I so agree about constraints and boundaries stimulating creativity! It was one of the big areas I used to discuss with my IB Film students. I definitely find I work well when I’m juggling lots of things, even if it is exhausting sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  5. Zaz (@mama_andmore)

    Oh what wonderful boosts to creativity! We have a De Longhi as well, and while I love coffee, sadly it doesn’t love me back (since pregnancy I get severe heart palpitations even with a latte! Sigh!). A quiet room, light streaming in, warmth, and sitting at the dining room table is where I get most of my writing done, although so much of it comes through my mind wherever I am, and for that I use the low tech notes app on my iphone, or scribbled notes in good old fashioned pen to paper!
    Thanks so much for linking to #AllAboutYou – and good luck with the edit! xx

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I found an amazing decaf coffee from Suma when I was pregnant if you’re missing those lattes – organic, fair trade and delicious xx

  6. joyandpops

    Lovely post! I tend to do most of my writing by hand but I’ve heard so many good things about Scrivener I’m definitely going to check it out – I can see it could make my life so much easier in the long run.
    My essentials: Hot chocolate and any opportunity for a relatively free mind!

  7. Emily Organ

    I’m so jealous of your view! We have one view over fields (and that’s the boys’ bedroom so I don’t get much chance to enjoy it), the rest is neighbouring houses. I couldn’t agree more on coffee and chocolate – I’ve had both myself this morning while writing. And I’m impressed with the sling, my children were squirmy wormy babies and never tolerated it for long. I tried a number of different types too. I agree Winter has gone on too long, roll on Spring and I’m sure it will help us all feel more upbeat.

  8. Morgan Prince

    Oh my what a lovely view! I have to agree with you on the coffee, I NEED coffee to function these days and it is essential when I’m writing. I too use scrivener and have found it to be my most useful writing tool, I’m lots more organised than I used to be! xx

  9. You Baby Me Mummy

    Wow what an incredible view! I am not sure I would get anything done if I had that to look at. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x (if you could add our badge or link back, that would be great, thanks) x

  10. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Lovely post! I agree with you on the view thing (I love to work looking out onto my garden) and although I don’t drink coffee, I certainly can drink my body weight in tea when I’m writing and editing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For me, an essential to doing my best work is figuring out when I’m most productive. I know that if I do my work first thing (morning is my productive time), it’s always much better and I’m prone to less mistakes. Therefore I do the bulk of my writing and editing in the morning and other stuff (like emails, photo editing, brainstorming etc) at night.

    Wine is also good for loosening the brain cogs! X


  11. Chrissie@muddledms

    Oh my goodness. What a lovely view! It’s fascinating how we have rituals. I have to have a cup of tea and music (and not have the Better Half blathering on at me like he is now, doesn’t he know I’m trying to write?! Ah hem.) x

  12. Pingback: Seven top tips to help you edit your novel | Sophie is…

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