Editing: A Love/Hate Relationship

Editing. Editing. Editing….All I can say is, “Wow, what a process!” 

When I began getting chapters back from my editor, I honestly had no clue what to expect. Printing out the first set, my stomach was in knots, my hands were sweaty, and it took me a long 10 minutes to gather the courage to begin reading the changes, comments, and critiques.

The red comment balloons stared me in the face. Time to get down and dirty. At first, the critiques stung and my stomach fell each time I read a negative comment. I even found myself getting mad, and most definitely, offended. Then, BAM, a positive comment would prevail and get me back on track. It’s truly amazing how a short, positive comment can erase the effects of all the long, constructive (taken negatively at first) comments.

After working through the first couple of chapters, I put my manuscript down, and took a step back. I finally came to my editing senses and realized the constructive criticism and comments are exactly what I was paying for. I wasn’t paying my editor to praise me. I was paying her to share her expertise and knowledge. I’ve never written a book before, so what the hell do I know? I needed my editor to tell me and show me the error of my writing ways. I should respect those little…or big….red comment balloons on the side of the page. When I began to listen and absorb the suggestions, versus just reacting to them, the editing process took on a whole new meaning. I began to challenge myself to dig deeper. Going beyond the surface of the story was imperative. I began to change, delete, and rewrite. It was liberating and powerful having this new insight on editing.

I’ve learned many things on this editing journey, but one of the best things I’ve learned is that there are no boundaries. For some reason, when I was in the midst of writing the book, I had barriers and walls that hindered me from writing the best storyline and creating the best characters. It’s up to me to take my novel to the next level, and to do that, I’ve had to go beyond the initial words and sentences I put on paper. Editing allows me to do that, so that’s why I love it.

Then there’s the other side, the side I hate: Getting stuck, no movement, and not knowing which direction to change things. There’s not much to say about this. It’s the inevitable hell that a writer goes through while writing or editing. Perseverance, tenacity,  patience, and persistency is what it takes. Giving up is never an option. The love of the pen and words is what keeps me going.

I realize that at the end of this round of editing, there will be more changes to make. I will go through the same process for another go-round. At least I now have insight on what to expect. There’s definitely a calming feeling about knowing what’s around the corner, but I’m certain there will be many surprises and challenges until the very end.

For those of you out there who will be taking this same journey, I don’t think it’s possible to prepare yourself for your first professional editing process. You can read all the books out there and listen to other’s opinions, but it’s an individual experience. Respect it, and enjoy it. Take it seriously, but don’t lose sight of having fun with it. Remember, at the end of the day, the final draft is the result of your initial thoughts and writings that editing makes better.

For me, I choose to enjoy the journey of making my novel everything it deserves to be.

Until next time…..

5 Comments

Filed under August 2011

5 responses to “Editing: A Love/Hate Relationship

  1. Editing is worth every second spent on it. Once your book is out there, you can’t change it and you can’t explain the readers “the right message”. I wish you the best of luck.

  2. I would totally react the same way at first.
    I know I put so much into my work, it is natural to take critisim personally.
    But to get feedback is also how we grow, and that is what I am all about.

    Love your posts about the journey!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Bravo! Yes, I know my customers hate me for a while when they get their manuscripts back. It sucks! But, hey, I’m not just an editor, I’m a writer, so, oof, do I understand. Lol.

    Great post! I’m sharing it.

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