My Problems With Editing

Editing and I have a very constrained, very problematic relationship. We don’t get along too well.

This is one of those problems that I worry will derail any chances of me actually publishing something strong that I’ve written. Basically, what happens is I write something, a novel let’s say, and it’s good. The creative juices flow, and the words come pouring out, and all the themes get planted down on the page, and the page count soars and everything tidies up at the end and everyone is as happy as pigs in shit.

Then, since it’s something I’m proud of, something that I want to get published, I decide that I need to edit it. I am beyond aware that my writing isn’t the kind that can be shipped off the second after I write it, I know it needs editing.

And that’s when absolutely everything comes grinding to a shitty, un-productive, cluster-fucked halt. Because editing isn’t fun. It isn’t the, “soaring through the fields shooting words out of every orifice” part of the job, so therefore it sucks. It sucks, and it’s fucking beyond essential.

So I usually sit at my keyboard, locked into a hate stare with the printed manuscript and the word file on the screen, screaming to myself, “just edit it you fuck! You wrote the fucking thing, so edit it!”

But I can’t. I freeze, and then go find something else to do, or waste time writing blog posts.

To be clear, I’m not talking about combing through a piece and fixing the grammar problems and the spelling issues. I’m talking about the editing where you rip the entrails out of something and install new ones, where whole paragraphs, whole characters, whole plot lines, get shotgunned away from the body of work and need replacing. That’s the shit I have problems with, the step of the process that derails me forever.

Why? I have no fucking idea. Probably because it’s hard. I’m going to give it another try though.

But first I’ll have another cigarette.

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2 Responses to My Problems With Editing

  1. hghtashbry says:

    Just curious…do you think it’s because you genuinely hate doing it or is it possibly that you’re not sure where to begin?
    I’m curious because I am a freelance editor but I also write and for me, I love editing the work of others but to edit my own work….it’s just not for me. I think my biggest drawback is that when I write something, I write it because I like it and I want it there. I have a very hard time slaughtering my own work.

    • I’m not sure. I usually make lots of notes when I read through what I’ve written, and I’m pretty merciless at tearing my own stuff apart. It’s the step after that that ruins me, the actual, sitting down, work part. It might be that I’m just not a grand editor, I will read over other people’s work, but my comments are usually gut reactions and broad sweeps of what I dislike and like, nothing on the technical side.

      It’s easily my biggest weakness as a writer. I usually get others to edit my work.

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