Writing

The Zen and Art of Editing

The art of editing.

I’m dreadful at the concept of the zen of editing. Editing frustrates me, not because I am bad at editing, but rather I find it hard to focus on the edits needed all the way to the end of the writing. For some, the concept of doing this is relaxing, it’s what they do.  Rewriting words is a peaceful feeling to them, and an art.  For me, it’s more of a feeling of slash and burn. I get mad I get angry and then I begin to cut.  And out comes the new draft, which is the same as the old draft minus a few thousand words.

pens and edits
editing is powerful

I need to do something about my sweet innocent manuscript, and I hate doing it. It’s not because it won’t improve my writing, that’s not the problem, what is the problem is that what I think is good, isn’t and then what I redo, still isn’t any better.  Or at least so I believe, and that is another problem all on its own, because it is better it’s that I liked what it was before, and many writers want to think they are the ones who will break the mould as it were, in terms of writing that one book in one draft.  That’s not an art, that’s simple luck.  The point is that all writers have to edit, even if they don’t like it.

I have to admit that as much as I dislike editing, it is a worthwhile journey, and it is a powerful lesson in learning about how my development as a writer can be more effective. It is a process I have a hard time with. I can see some of you agreeing, and others wanting to voice their own views. Hear me out though, as I can only tell you about why I do what I do.

I edit because in the end it makes a first draft better, this doesn’t mean it’s prefect, but it’s better and it’s something I can be pleased with and know I had some success in the art of editing.  It’s a zen like feeling, where the zen comes for walking each step needed to be a better writer. I know that some will tell me that if you write outlines and deep character outlines, you really only need one major draft. Okay, outlines are great, I use them all the time. Often though it is not enough.

Editing is required. Editing allows for growth and development of the author, if you want to improve your writing, you will have to edit and learn from it.  There is a side bonus to the art of editing, you end up finding that you can do better. Yes, I’ve done the long outlines, and the drawings, poured over maps, but all that will not help if I don’t edit.  My message the thing I want to get across needs to be clear, and like everything in life if it isn’t clear, you will have challenges.

As much as I dislike editing, it is useful and an art unto itself. I only wish it would be something that would be faster.  The reality is that at the moment it is not because I am new to it. Editing takes practice just like writing does, and the more I edit, the more I learn and the more I improve my overall writing powers.  It’s not a quick process, but it is a part of what makes a better writer.  One thing that holds me together is knowing that no matter what editing is the only way to grow stronger as a blogger, a writer and a person.  The more I learn to see mistakes the better.  It is a pleasure in the end, and although I admit it’s not fun, it is worth it.

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