Although many of my wonderful writer tweeples responded with glee, I got more than a couple of messages that went along the lines of err, I don't know, Ava. Editing? Want to do mine for me? *wink wink*
It got me thinking.
Once upon a time, long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to hate editing. It's not that I thought it unnecessary—I knew it was necessary—I just couldn't stand the thought of re-reading something I wrote half a dozen (or—God forbid—more) times. I'd already done the hard work of getting the first draft down, did I really want to spend months or years flipping things around and cutting passages and adding new things and re-reading re-writing re-reading re-writing?
Over the course of trunking many-a-novel, I learned the hard way about the importance of editing—real editing, and I realized that if I was going to bring the fullest potential out of my stories, I had to learn to love to edit. Period.
Surprisingly, saying ok, I need to love editing now didn't magically make me start to love to edit. What did change my opinion of editing (and this is a little surprising), was editing the same WIP over the course of two and a half years.
I'll admit, initially I got pretty sick of it, and when I discovered after a break from the WIP that it needed complete re-writing after a couple of rounds of edits already, I resisted the process. I didn't want to re-write it—it would take weeks, and then I'd probably need to edit it again and what if it needed more re-writing after that?
I rewrote it. Then something weird happened.
|Photo credit: AlaskaTeacher on Flickr|
And suddenly, editing wasn't so bad after all.
When I didn't like editing, I was looking at it all the wrong way—I thought of it as this extra step, this horrendous extra task that inevitably meant more hard work and when I sat down in front of the computer I thought, ugh, I have to edit today.
What I didn't realize is that editing is so much more than that—it's a chance to refine your work, to really make your writing shine, and once you start to see your work evolve, well, it can be kind of fun.
I'm not saying editing isn't hard, time-consuming work—it absolutely is. What I am saying is that the way you look at it can largely change your experience.
Let's face it, if you want to be a writer, you're going to be doing a lot of editing. Whether it's editing your first or second or fifth or fifteenth draft, editing your query letter or synopsis or author bio or blurb, editing your first book or your twentieth book, the life of the writer is an endless cycle of writing and editing and editing and writing.
It's part of the process, and it's a step that you can't skip. So if we have to do it anyway, we might as well try to enjoy it, right?
What do you think? Am I crazy for loving to edit? What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the editing process?