Editing is a job that has to be done. After months and months of labour writing thousands of words into something approximating a book, the next job is to review it all in detail and iron out all the mistakes. Of course, I never make any mistakes myself (ahem!)
Okay, okay - of course I make mistakes. There are spelling errors, tense errors, grammatical errors; there are flaws in the order or plot (a loose term, given it is a memoir, but I have discovered that in my draft I celebrated the rains arriving a couple of chapters after it was raining in the story...); there are bits that are poorly written, stodgy or don't flow well.
I have procrastinated for months, possibly years. Here are the reasons for hating editing:
- It is depressing looking at work again and again. It becomes mundane, tiring, even boring, reading the same story repeatedly.
- Each version looks worse than the one before. Why can't I just write it correctly the first time?
- I keep wondering about changing fundamental aspects of it, particularly the tense. Currently it is all written in the present tense - would it be better in the past? How far should I stick to the true chronology, and how far can I flex stories so that it seems to flow better? And the title: I'd like to change it, but to what?
- I am never good at finishing jobs. I am much better at coming up with ideas or starting projects. This is part of why our marriage works so well: I generate a plan and my husband implements it! (I'm sure he doesn't appreciate this quite as much as I do!)
- Crossing out large chunks or scribbling over paper printouts in red pen is not building my self-confidence.
So, given all this, why am I quietly enjoying it so much? Is it because I can see the writing improving every time? Or because I know I am getting closer to my goal? Or because actually I am quite proud of my book and am looking forward to others enjoying it too?
I am loving my new-found excitement with my book and writing. It is a part of my New Year's Resolutions that I never thought would come to pass ... but approaching half-term and I am 75% of the way through my second draft.
Third draft next half-term...