Some time back I mentioned that several people have asked me before about my writing process. As a result, I promised that I would begin posting from time to time bits of insight, advice, thoughts on various aspects of the process. The first time I wrote I tackled “the creative process,” which is basically just a fancy way of answering “where do your ideas come from?”

See what I did there? Catchy, huh?

Today, I would like to offer my perspective on what is far and away the worst part of being a writer….editing. (And it’s not even close. If there was a “most hated event”medal stand, editing would take gold…silver and bronze would stand vacant)

The reasons for my dislike of the process are multiple, but before anybody gets the wrong idea let me just say that at the top of the list is the simple fact that if I’m editing, I’m not creating anything new. Jodi Picoult once said in an interview that it is easier to edit a bad page than a blank one. Of course she’s right, but the part she forgot to add on was it’s
also a heckuva lot more tedious…and boring…and soul-crushing.

Why is that?

Again, because nothing new is being created. These are words that have already been put down, thoughts that have been written out, plot points that have been committed to paper. By spending an inordinate amount of time toiling over every word, the possibility of over-analyzing becomes possible. I know many writers that never finish anything because they can’t get
past the urge to continue shaping the first fifty pages over and over again.

Second, as almost just a big reason to me, is the fact that I write stories for one of two reasons…I either love the plot line or I love the characters. Every work ever written, no matter the medium, book, screenplay, magazine article, you name it, fits into one of those two categories. By the time something has been examined a hundred times over, it is impossible to love
it anymore. It is impossible to be objective about it anymore.

It is impossible not to just want the damn thing to go away.

 All that being said, I do edit. A lot. A lot a lot. I don’t enjoy it, but I go through the process because that’s what you as readers deserve. And that’s what the stories deserve. Every work I put down goes through at least three drafts, some as many as six or seven. (Scars and Stars, Im looking at you) By the time I get through, anywhere from 2 to 20,000 words may have been removed. A few times, I’ve even ended up with more words than I started.

Just like with the creative process, I don’t claim to entirely
understand it. But I do it, and I will continue to do it. Everything from the
first rewrite, which can be long and painful, to the final edit, using printed
pages and a red ink pen.


In
the meantime, if any kind soul out there wants to take that task over for me…we
can definitely talk.J

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