How I Learned to Love Editing

Dear Reader,

I want to share a secret with you. I love editing! It sounds crazy, right? When I first started thinking about sharing the stories I had written I knew they needed to be edited. I tried editing them myself, but for anyone who is ever written so much as a thank you note, you know that self editing is a very difficult thing. Your brain naturally fills in the gaps and you naturally skip over the misspelled words, missing punctation and other typos. Then you have to give that mess over to someone else to read and edit and you cringe.

Everyone hates to have their mistakes pointed out to them. That is completely natural, but it is also necessary to grow. So once you learn the mechanics of editing, and everyone can, you can embark on your new journey of the second phase of writing your story, editing. So how do you start enjoy editing?

Learning to enjoy editing isn’t a matter of mechanics as much as it is a matter of mindset. As a writer you have to realize that editing is part of the creative process. It is not an act of judgement, it is the act of refining, providing clarity, and enhancing the amazing story you’ve written. You spent hours writing your story, the next natural step is to take a break from it, go write something else, and come back to your story and begin writing phase two. Read it out loud to yourself, if possible record yourself reading it. I think you’ll find a few areas were the story in your head didn’t quite make it onto the page the way you thought it did. Here’s your chance to hone it and make it say what you intended before the rest of the world sees it. It will feel a little awkward at first, but once you do it a couple of times you’ll start looking forward it.

My process now involves me writing the first draft which is sort of a very long outline, a collection of scenes. I do this long hand in a notebook. Then when I type it on my computer I flesh out those transitions from one scene to another. Then I leave it. I go work on something else. I start a new notebook for another story. Or I pull out my research notebook and review the facts I have collected there, or maybe read either other works of fiction or books I found for reference for a new story. But, no matter what you choose to do, take your mind completely away from the story you just typed. Let it rest.

Once you’ve done that go back and read it again. Refine it some more. Massage it, shape it like a piece of clay on a potters wheel, then when you’re sick of looking at it. Give it to someone else to read, maybe an alpha reader, or a proper editor. But, enjoy the process, it is your story, don’t let someone else craft it into the final product. Don’t let someone else define what you meant to say, only you can do that.

I hope this helps you to start enjoying your editing process, because really it is just part of your writing process and you should embrace it. Let a paid editor, edit. You, dear reader, are the master craftsman with a story to tell and only you can tell it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s