Writers, Hate Editing? Why? You could choose to love it!

Writing a novel is like taking a vacation to a world you know better than anyone, where you can
read the mind of every person you meet. It’s an amazing escape from the day to day. Then comes
the editing.

Image result for forbidden love funny

A lot of authors hate it, but here’s my question, why? Did you not write a story you love? I don’t write
anything I wouldn’t read, over and over. To me, the editing process is like preparing for guests, that
I really like, to come over. Sure, it’s work, but it’s not the same as just cleaning the house to have the
family come home and dirty it again, it’s exhilarating,

I get to meet those characters again, and clarify their actions and words before the audience arrives.
Maybe it’s the stage director in me, wanting the lights, the set, the costumes and finally the
performance, to be perfect for that audience. I want them to experience it the way I experienced it,
immediate, and powerful, exploding in the mind, seeing every scene as if they are standing right there
as it happens in real time!

So, if you ask me to delete my extra “that”s and commas to keep from confusing the audience, great,
let’s do that! If I need to polish a character’s dialog to make  it funnier, more brutal, or just make it
make sense, why wouldn’t I be excited about that?

With every edit I complete, I’m getting one step closer to lifting the curtain, to revealing this amazing
world that didn’t just pop into my head, but stayed there until I had no choice but to share it.

What I’m trying to say is this, I think editing is only a chore, because we think of it as being one. When
we’re in the creative flow of the first draft, no one’s complaining about the drudgery. No, we get lost
and spend hours without realizing it, tapping the keys, turning the pages. So, why should our attitude
be any different in editing?

I think it’s because we take it personally. Although every well paid, famous writer on earth tells us that
the real work is in the editing, and rewrites, we think our work springs out of our butts fully formed and
ready for the Pulitzer committee. Am I right? I think the key may be in thinking of the story as “finished”
when we type the last sentence of the first draft. That’s silly.

That would be like saying a house is complete because you built the frame. No roof, no walls, no
windows, carpets, or hardwood floors, just the outline of a house. The first draft is often like this. If
you’ve done this a lot, you may get a lot closer to a finished product in your first draft, but nobody
hangs the drapes and touches up the paint, installs that last switch cover, in their first pass on
something as complex as a novel. Nobody.

So, next time you’re in that editing mode. Here are two things to try. First, you could try seeing the first
draft as laying the foundation, it’s a proof of concept, you’re making sure your story and characters
hold up. Second, you could do what some do, and edit as you go. I don’t recommend it, but if having
an unfinished product after finishing the first draft is a bummer for you, you might try it.

Either way, the one thing you should never, ever do, is insist that the audience just deal with your
idiosyncrasies. Sure, you’re unique. You may have a style all your own, and that’s cool and all, but
writing it in all caps, and not spell checking, should never be an option, unless you want the well
deserved criticism that comes with it.

If you want to be a writer, create a healthy relationship with editing. You’re going to spend a lot of time
there. Find a way to make it a good thing. .


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