If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I’m not a big fan of editing. I love writing rough drafts–ten years of NaNoWriMo has trained me to turn off the internal editor and just get the story out as quickly as possible. As long as I have an outline ready, I can fly through with no problem.
The difficulties arise when I begin editing. All the doubts and fears I shove aside during writing come back with a vengeance. Suddenly I’m certain every word I’ve written is garbage. My plot is worthless, and my characters are cardboard cutouts.
Before you attempt to console me, let me assure you–this is all 100% true. After all, this is a rough draft we’re talking about. (Okay, maybe not 100%. I hear Jess yelling at me in my head. 50%?)
For authors who draft as they write, editing along the way, the final edits are somewhat easier. For me, they’re the hard work.
Last week, I decided that telling an author to edit is like telling a child to eat her green vegetables. You, the speaker, know the act is beneficial. We, the child/author to whom you are speaking, can only see that you’re asking us to do something unpleasant and unpalatable.* When I sit down to edit, I screw my face up just like a five-year-old staring at a plate of green beans.
“But you’re not editing, you’re rewriting!” Jess said when I shared this insight.
“That’s like when your mom puts the veggies in the blender and then pours the mixture into soup or spaghetti sauce. It’s still vegetables, they’re just disguised.”
So as you can imagine, I’m not exactly in my happy place right now. I did receive reassurance that I did the exact same thing last year, and that book turned out okay. I feel slightly better knowing that, but mostly I just want to set my manuscript on fire and leave the country.
I’m going to eat chocolate and watch Doctor Who.
*Now that I’m grown up, I actually enjoy vegetables. This was not always the case.