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The Joys of Editing

posted Mar 8, 2014, 8:12 AM by Ben Kreucher
I wonder if Rowling, Sanderson, or Martin get tired of reading their work.  Not that I do.  I just grow weary from reading my own.  I probably have read my stories more than any other book...probably more than every other book combined.  Read, write, rewrite, edit.  It's an unending cycle.  Maybe I'm a perfectionist.  Maybe there's always something to correct, change, or tweak.  Maybe I'm just never satisfied with done.

I can only read a story so many times.  Sure, I've probably read the Harry Potter series a few (dozen) times, usually all in a row; but never multiple times in a row.  But that's what I do with my own writing.  It's probably what all writers do.

The highs don't seem as high anymore or the lows as low.  That's why, I think, I write multiple projects at a time.  I can only stand to look at one for so long before needing to move on and writing something different.  Be it a sequel or an entirely new world.

Usually, I like to read through a completed manuscript, edit it, then let it simmer for a few months before returning to it.  This time, however, I'm not reading it on my computer, I'm reading it as a printed out hard-copy.  It's quite refreshing.  Plus, it's very satisfying to see your words in print (even if you plan on storing them under your bed).  There's something different about holding your manuscript in your hands, reading the words from the page, and enjoying it almost like it's a book.  

I edit it differently.  I don't skim over section like I usually do when reading on the computer.  So, thanks to wherever I first read about editing on paper and thanks again to the multiple places I kept hearing about it.  It's definitely a different experience and one, I'm finding, I enjoy immensely (or, at least, more than I thought I would).

Because as any author (published or otherwise) will tell you, editing is a burden.  Writing is fun.  There are few who will admit that editing gives them pleasure.  No one likes to tear apart their hard work, their baby; but, I believe, we all strive for perfection.  Without self-editing and the help of others, perfection cannot be achieved.  It's rare to write perfectly the first time (or the second, third, fourth time...) through a manuscript; at least for me.  If you can, more power to you; but I still need to suffer through the pains (and tedium) of edits, rewrites, and many, many read-throughs. 

Not that my work is terrible; but how many times can someone read the same story?  I'm putting it to the test.  So far, well, actually, I've lost count...huh, not a very accurate experiment then.  Such is my writing lot, I suppose.
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