Close to Ink's heart with this one ;)
When it comes to editing, one of my biggest committments is in the area of doing nothing. I'm not just being fatuous: one of the most useful techniques I find for editing is to leave a story aside for a while. Maybe a few days for a short, maybe a few months for a novel.
Some phrases, or paragraphs, some little elements of prose bug me, and I 'fix' them, and then come back and go 'that still isn't smooth enough'. I can get quite caught up in tickling and adjusting the flow of just one sentence, and a bit of obsession can creep in. Then my 'leave it aside' thing gets thrown out of the window and I go hacking away. Other times, I look, think I see what it needs, make the adjustment, and move on. This often leads to a recurrence some time later when I trip over that same part.
Partly, I think, this is because sometimes we can edit a thing to be smooth with the juxtaposed sentences, but yet it can still sit awkwardly in the whole paragraph.
I love the idea of 'swooping' for editing. I like to think that a novel can be written, then have an editing swoop, catch up all the little hiccups in one thorough pass. Obviously, this does not sit well with my experiences of short term obsessions and coming back to find that something didn't really work, even after I edited it.
My committment to 'swooping' is almost paramount, and paradoxically enough, that same committment sees me 'tinker and move on', leaving behind a number of problems and necessating another 'swoop' to catch them.
It could go on indefinitely, but there must come a time when you say 'enough! I'm finished here.' Obviously, the more accomplished a writer you are, the easier this will be, but when it comes to editing I guess everyone has a different system. Mine is basically: write; swoop to straighten/order more effectively; swoop to neaten the prose. That's the ideal, anyway. In reality, I often make multiple passes and a short story can bug the hell out of me on a short term basis and I'll go hammer and tongues at it until I can't see the wood for the trees.
Well I'm sure that contained a lot of useful advice. Who's next?