Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Writing Wednesday: 5 reasons why I hate editing


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:

  1. It is depressing looking at work again and again. It becomes mundane, tiring, even boring, reading the same story repeatedly.
  2. Each version looks worse than the one before. Why can't I just write it correctly the first time?
  3. 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?
  4. 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!)
  5. 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...

1 comment:

Mark said...

How can you not like editing? I love it. Most of my finished pieces end up with (and I'm not exaggerating) twenty or so drafts. It's getting the stuff down in the first place that I find excruciating.

So enjoy

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