The Joy of Editing

Way back in my college days I learned the value of procrastination. We all probably put more effort into creatively avoiding work than we did the work itself. It was amazing how important cleaning your dorm room became. You could find a paper you wrote at the first of the semester and suddenly feel the need to dive deeper into what you wrote. Then there was exercise. You could sit on your rump all semester, but come study time, and we all wanted to stretch those muscles in preparation for our serious studying. Eventually we would all settle down into our routines and do our best to survive the rigors of college. Some efforts were more successful than others.

I liken the first edit of my story to those days. When I write my first drafts the story is fresh and new to me. In my mind’s eye I am with my characters, seeing and feeling everything they do. I simply attempt to record their experiences. Even my first proof read feels fresh because I’m sitting through the whole story that may have taken weeks, or months, to write. I enjoy changing and fixing weaker sections so my readers will experience much of what I have. Then the story goes to a third person that edits the prose with dispassion.

The actual edits this person does do not bother me. I consider them a valued chance to grow. The hard part is sitting down and walking through those edits. Some pages are filled with comments concerning content. Some have grammar mistakes, most have both. It is not a fast process by any stretch of the imagination. I have found I can do 10 pages a day if I push myself after I start.

Therein lies the crux, starting. Taking the time to sit down, look at the fixes and comments, read the context around each one, and make any necessary updates. In some cases the editor’s suggestions have spawned downstream changes due to ripples caused in the story. This is not something I look forward to working on when I wake up in the morning. In fact, I have been amazed how much more time I am spending on my blog, my Facebook Page for my books and this blog, and even housework. Much like those college days, I need to find a productive routine and properly prioritize. Every writer has their hump they have to fight through when creating their story. Whether it’s the premise of a story, writing the draft, or editing. Finding our creative rhythm throughout the process takes time, and perhaps a few distractions along the way.

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