On Writing · The Foundry

The mountain that is the editing process.

Editing is such a huge word, for us writers it means one thing.  The rearrangement of a piece of writing we have done, be it short story, novel, poem or flash fiction. The editing process is integral to our ability to write something good, and worth reading.

It is also an extremely hard process, one that can take a long time. However the main reason why it is hard is because it is not the same as have written, we like the aspect of writing and know that we have managed to write something. It brings us pleasure, or at least the sense of accomplishment on seeing a finished piece of writing.

Editing doesn’t give that feeling, or at least for me it doesn’t. I have completed one full edit of a 95,000 word novel, which took me around 3 weeks, which I did it in three parts. The first part was just a general read through, fixing typing errors and other small issues. These second part was a total edit, through the first part I added notes to each chapter, on what I would edit in the second, this took the longest to do and at some points was very mind numbing. However I persevered and completed it, leaving the third part, which was a touch up of the novel. Spelling/grammatical errors were fixed and then I was finished.

This was the first time I ever edited anything this big, I really didn’t like the process as much as having written the novel. To me at some points it was a chore, while I liked my work and loved a few bits of it. Editing was just gruelling, I was so happy to having finished it. Not at having edited it, but at just having finished the editing and being done with it. That I would no longer have to edit the novel, that was perhaps the only good feeling I had at the whole experience.

However it had to be done, I know I will have to do it many times in the future for my other novels. It is a process that needs to be completed if you want your piece of work in any coherent form. Sure you could go without editing, but what would that leave you. For most a first draft is very bad, full of holes of various sizes. You can leave the editing phase out, perhaps due to the thought of its not going to be anything so why bother or you just want to move onto the next piece.

That is all well and good, but sometimes you need to take that next step in your journey as a writer, sometimes you have to stamp you foot into the ground and say you will Edit. Ignore the voice in your head stating you don’t need to do it, or that it would be to hard. Sometimes it is good learning a new skill, you never know you may enjoy it. šŸ™‚

I am not fully sure why I wrote this, I think it is to get a few things off my chest. I never knew before what it meant when other people said they were in the editing phase and looking all sullen. Now I know why, editing is a hard process but also a rewarding one. With an done you can move on with your story, take it to greater heights of perfection, before finally moving onto something else.

To all those people that are going through edits right now, know that there are people that know what you are going through. Know that it will be over soon, afterwards you can get back to the nicer process of writing or perhaps plotting if you like that more.

Best of luck to you all.

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