The 10 Best Things About Editing

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I know a lot of people don’t like editing. Honestly, I don’t really mind it. That being said, some of these are 100% serious; others are tongue-in-cheek. I’ll leave you to decide which are which.

  1. You get to know your story reeeeeaaaaallly well. Do you want to know on what page a certain event occurs? I’ve read my book 8,000 times now. I can probably tell you what the fourth word in the fifteenth row on page 210 is. (It’s actually “plugged.”
  2. It’s exciting when it all comes together. It’s not always fun to delete a phrase I loved, but it feels fantastic when I replace it with something better, clearer, or more plot relevant.
  3. You get better at spotting scenes that aren’t plot relevant. These are painful to cut, especially when I love them. But if it doesn’t further the plot or character, it’s got to go. Even if the writing is brilliant.
  4. You can complain on Twitter using the hashtag #amediting and get tons of sympathy! There is always someone talking about editing. Always.
  5. You get to find out how much you love your story. Everyone reaches a point where they hate their story. All relationships have low points. I love my story, and I show it love by making the best it can be. I’ve passed the point of hatred and actually gotten back to the point where I enjoy it again.
  6. You learn how to write better. This is a big one. Learning what needs to be cut and why has helped me be a better writer. Everything is a process and a learning experience. No pain, no gain and all that.
  7. The red pen is satisfying. At some point, I print out my whole book and go through it with a red pen. It’s wonderful to see all those printed pages, but also a lot of fun to scribble all over them and write myself notes.
  8.  You find out what you’re made of. There are a lot of quotes and advice on the internet that basically boil down to, “It’s not the most talented writers who succeed, it’s the most determined.” It’s easy to say that nothing will stop you from writing, but critiques and edits are frustrating. Being willing to edit a story so many times you’ve lost count says something about who you are and what you’re willing to do to succeed.
  9. Anyone can start something, but not everyone can finish something. Closely related to #8, editing a book is a serious commitment that not everyone is willing to follow through with.
  10. If you keep editing, you’ll eventually have something to be proud of. I’ve been happy with every version of my story, but I’m happier with each revision. I look back at early version and think, “I thought that was ready??” One of these days, I’ll have a version that I’ll be proud of when I type “The End” and still love six months later.

Editing… do you love it or hate it?

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