Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why is Editing so Hard?

A popular post from February 2008

By Heather Moore

Like many of you, when I sit down to write, I love the feeling of accomplishment. Recording the number of words written at the end of a writing session gives me a tangible record of achievement. It’s better than getting all of the laundry done, or having a clean house. Because by the next day, laundry has started to pile up again, and the kitchen counters are stacked with more homework.

But that word count continues to grow each day, and no one can change that . . .

Until it’s time to edit.

Editing is like lugging that basket of dirty clothes, again, to the laundry room. It’s like seeing the dishes piled in the sink—when it seems you’ve just washed them.

Editing is work.

There are times when I get an edit back from a fellow reader—and although I’m so grateful for the time they put into reading my manuscript—I know the next few days are not going to be easy. Every correction brings me closer to a cleaner manuscript, but there are those comments that I dread. You know the ones, “I can’t picture this.” “This isn’t consistent with the character.” “Your man sounds like a whiny woman.”

Those are not quick fixes. They take re-evaluation, re-thinking, and re-writing. Just plain work, and lots of time.

So to make editing more bearable I’ve come up with a few suggestions.
1. Turn on your favorite music.
2. Get out that chocolate.
3. Only do a set number of pages a day so that you don’t get too frustrated. Anywhere from 20-50 should do it.
4. Do the quick fixes first, and set aside the pages with the harder rewrites. Then come back at the end and work on the more difficult editing. By then, you’ll have whittled down the imposing stack of 300 pages to a mere 20-30 pages.


Andi Sherwood said...

Thanks, Heather. I've had a problem with this myself so your thoughts and suggestions really help. :)


Heather B. Moore said...

Yes, Andi. At least we can commiserate together!