Enough Already: Why I Hate Editing

For several weeks, I have been working on a short story that could possibly be included in another writer’s next book.  Now, this author is also a very dear friend as well as an extremely talented writer and my mentor.  Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway) the prospect of disappointing him has me…..well, just this side of terrified.

But, I say I will write the story.  I started slow as I tend to do.  I believe I’ve mentioned that I usually start writing with a general idea that includes a beginning and a vague notion for the ending and just make up the rest as I go along which is super exciting or super frustrating depending on how well the ideas flow.  This story continued to creep along.  It was harder because I was writing about an already established character in an already established world, so I had work within certain parameters.  Eventually, however, I became immersed in the story and I finished the last half of it in about three days.

I was so excited as I typed in the final period and relieved that I finished before my friend completed the entire book (he’s that quick, trust me).  Until it dawned on me:  I had been so fixated on finishing the story, I totally forgot that I had to edit it.  Crap.  How I hate to edit!

So, I began editing this story of about 8,000 words and after two days I was done.  Or, at least I thought I was done.  Until my eight year old picked it up and immediately noticed a typo and a double word.  I edited it again.  Said eight year old apparently has a very promising future as an editor because she picked up the final printed copy and found more mistakes.  At this point, I was trying to figure out a way to back my truck over my own head.  Instead I edited the story one more time.  And then I sent it before I, or my eight year old, could look at it again.

Because at some point in the editing process, you just have to say, “Enough already!” and get a fresh pair of eyes on it.  When I read my own writing, I tend to see what I want it to say as opposed to what it actually says and it soon becomes an exercise in futility.

For all you writers out there, how many times do you go over your own work in the editing process?  Do you ask somebody else to take a look at it for you before your submit it? And do you also see what it is supposed to say instead of what it actually says, or am I some kind of weirdo freak?

Don’t answer that last question.

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3 Comments

  1. I’d say I’ve edited stories anywhere between 5 and 15 times. Maybe more, I stop counting when I get that far along. 5 is my minimum, because I ALWAYS find errors even after that many times. The good part about editing in the teens is there are usually no more typos, but I do tend to tweak the story around a bit (this usually follows a rejection).

    And I believe you already know you’re a weirdo freak. Just sayin’. (snicker)

    Reply
  2. Thanks, G. I can always count on you to point out my freakishness.

    Reply
  1. Get Writing – An Author Edits | A Writer Inspired

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