Editing is one of the hardest parts of the entire process!! I feel like I’ve managed to get a better grip on it solely by following a sort of routine with editing.
The first thing I do after writing something is walk away from the piece for some time. Sometimes it’s as quick as a lunch break and other times it’s as long as a few months; it depends on the size of the project for me. When I finished the first full write-through of my book, I didn’t touch it for nearly 2 months. That time away was good for thinking about the stuff I wanted to change that was really sticking with me post-writing.
When I’m finally ready to start editing (regardless of how much time has passed) I start with a quick read through. This is where I’ll pick out the most glaring grammatical errors and basic plot stuff that needs to be altered or words that just don’t fit right. During this read through, I take notes on everything bigger scale that will need to be changed. I usually print the document (sorry trees) and write all over it and in a separate notebook. For big projects I’ll go chapter by chapter or section by section, for smaller stuff I just take general notes.
Then, I like to take another break. Sometimes a few days, sometimes a few hours—it really depends on the mental energy that I have. It’s a taxing process. It’s hard and breaks are very important. I like to read as much as possible during these breaks and try to fill my brain with as much “nourishing content” as possible.
Then I start all the major rewrites and bigger edits that require a lot of thinking and planning. It’s another chance for me to snag any other grammatical errors, but I also tend to make a lot of new ones in the process which is fine because…
The last step is a sharp grammatical eye. This is the worst part in some ways and the best in others. Its great 'cause it means you’re almost done, but it also sucks because you find more stuff you want to change or make better but have to ignore it while fixing grammar and decide if it’s really really worth it to make another change.
And at that point I declare it “done” but then continue to snip and edit and fix and nitpick at it because I just have to. But that’s sort of how my process has gone recently, but that’s just been the best process for me. I think every writer just has to find an editing style that is sustainable and that works best for them. Trying all different methods of editing can be helpful and, as always, reading books about editing and just reading in general will help.