Welcome to my series, The Editing Diaries!
In a nutshell, I’m editing my story LASER and bringing you guys along for the ride. I want you to see how my process for editing novels works (and maybe I’ll figure out my process with you). So, buckle your seatbelts, we’re going on a trip!
Let me ask you a question.
When it comes to editing, why do we dread it? Why do we complain and groan about it? Why do we procrastinate until we feel guilty and then make ourselves work on it?
What are we so afraid of? Why is editing almost universally hated by authors one and all?
I’ve actually posted about this before. “Before” being before I started editing LASER. And I gave advice on how to lock your inner editor in a metaphorical closet.
But this is not going to be a repeat of that post. I’ve already posted that, so a repeat would be pointless.
Also, I have not had a lot of trouble with my inner editor. We’ve been getting along pretty well. Though, now that I think about it, I have been a little stressed about getting things right, but that’s probably more from my own insecurity than from Lydia (my inner editor).
I mean, I just came out of NaNoWriMo 2015 a winner, but with a book I have very little desire to edit. So, I’m still re-finding my confidence in writing.
But this is not the point. Or is it?
Our stories are never going to come out perfect on the first try. In fact, we are probably going to spend more time editing than we are drafting that first draft. I’ve been editing LASER for almost a year. It only took me four months to write the first draft. (I’m leaving out the time it took me to type the story up which included a few minor edits.)
So, if we are going to spend most of our time editing a story, then shouldn’t we learn to enjoy the process?
What are we so afraid of?
Why do we psych ourselves to be all stressed but we really know what we are doing and we turn out good edits?
Why do I psych myself to be all stressed even though I really know what I’m doing and I turn out good edits?
I submit that this is because of the bad reputation that editing gets.
I tried to look on my Pinterest for something inspiring (to put as my desktop picture) about editing and how it can be fun. A lot of the writing/editing quotes I’ve pinned are not about fun writing/editing. They are about how hard it is or they are those one memes with some hot male actor saying “You should be writing”.
I wonder when writing became a chore. Before I got my first laptop, I amused myself with reading and writing. Words were what I played with. And I am very thankful that I did meet other writers online to support me and for me to do the same for them but… why do we consider writing and editing hard?
Why am I not having fun?
With writing, if you are not having fun, there’s little point in doing it. It’s not something you go to college to do and get a job and get paid for it all neatly and everything. In fact, getting paid for it is not even guaranteed. But I’m not doing this for the money or the fame or anything like that. I’m doing this because I’m a storyteller and I want to tell stories and if I don’t have a writing project, it makes me a little batty.
So, again, why am I not having fun? Especially if writing is something that makes me happy and I want to be doing it?
What is so bad about editing?
Is the problem that I’m comparing myself to other writers? Other people draft and edit fast. Am I not as dedicated as they? I try to write or edit every day but I’m not perfectly focused. I procrastinate.
Am I burnt out? Have I pushed myself for too long and I need a break?
Am I just impatient? I’ve been editing LASER for nearly a year now. It seems like it’s time to be wrapping things up, but I’m still working out big bugs.
Am I scared that I’m running out of time? I’m 24. I’m not getting any younger. I still live with my parents. I have no regular income or marriage prospects. I want writing to be my career, but… I’m no where close to that.
Am I freaking out for no reason?
Am I scared of disappointing people if I don’t write?
Am I just putting too much pressure on myself?
Really, what is so bad about editing?
So, to sum up this rambling and unusual post, my goal is to find happiness in editing. I want editing to be something I look forward to doing everyday.
And I think that, in order to do this, editing has to be about storytelling. It can’t be about fixing or improving things. It can’t be because I feel obligated to work on it.
It has to be about me telling a story that I like.