A few days ago I mentioned that I was getting my first round of edits. Everyone knows that edits can be a bit of a soul crushing experience. I mean, no one likes to be shown all the things that they did wrong, and that is essentially what being edited is.
Still there is good news as well. I’m also being shown all the ways that my work can be better. Of course, there is room for differences of opinion, but one of the reason to use someone you trust is so that even if you don’t always agree you can know that there is still value to their points.
There are also a few ways to go about being edited. Now me, I like to get that first draft away from me. I don’t want to look at it or really even think about it for at least a few weeks.
Generally speaking, during the writing phase I’ve had it in my head for so long that I have a hard time separating good from bad, or reasonable criticism from wacky idea.
So, I get rid of it. To an editor of course. Even if I think there are things that could use some changing, I just want to sit with the material in my head and let it stew. While not looking at it.
And sometimes the edit comes back with red ink telling me that those ideas I had are what the manuscript needs. That is in fact awesome news. Ready to get started and write.
Or, it comes back and says there is just a little bit of tightening up needed and my whole scheme for rewrites just needs to be saved for later. Another plus, because those idea hooks can be out to work somewhere else.
I need that time away, and often a second opinion, before I go into damage control. I know it makes my writing better. So much so that I have a hard time believing in those rare birds that can write, immediately jump into editing, and then be ready to go. That must be a great skill but it just hasn’t been successful for me.
Just like the title say, I need time and editing to make my work better. Which, admittedly is as radical as saying that water and drinking relieves my thirst.
But sometimes we just need to take a moment and acknowledge that there can be some truth to the old methods.
And then we need to go write.