Editing Is Like a Winter Storm

After the freezing rain, my back yard is captivating.  Grasses bend under the weight of their icy accessories–tiny crystal beads that coat their parched stems.  A light dusting of snow covers the rock and dirt and brown detritus of fall, creating the illusion of unblemished beauty.  In one night, my yard has been transformed into a magical place.

I’ve been known to feel this way about my manuscripts.  But only after I’ve survived the sleet, the blizzards and the sub par temps of editing.

You see, editing can be a gruelling process.  It’s a journey into winter, where hell can/and does freeze over.  Where chilling winds sweep across the landscape of your novel and leave some parts bare.   Where a writer can get lost in the mounting drifts of plot and character and setting, and lose sight of home.

Editing is a dangerous season that can kill dreams as surely as it kills car batteries.  It saps the energy from writers and throws them into combat against the elements.  Only a determined few ever reach the other side of the storm.

Editing is gruelling, but I love it.

What about you, dear writers?  How do you prepare for the task of editing?  What tips can you share to help other writers survive the pitfalls along the way?  How do you know when your manuscript is ready to send out? 

And most importantly, how do you prepare for the next storm?  Because, inevitably, there will be more rewrites along the publishing path.  Though hopefully with the guidance of an agent or an editor.

Curious minds want to know.

8 responses to “Editing Is Like a Winter Storm

  1. Chocolate, chocolate, and still more chocolate! 🙂

  2. For me, I think it’s really important to set a manuscript aside and give it a break for about a week before going back and beginning the editing process. Then when you start editing, you see your manuscript with fresher eyes and can read it from a more objective perspective – as if you were the reader.

    • So true. Though I’ve been known to leave manuscripts alone for a year before that first reading. It really helps to read like a reader and not a writer.

      Great point.

  3. I kinda edit as I go and a week or so later hit it again. Then I fall in love with my creation and think it’s grand. Then the guys and gals at the writer’s workshop do the critique on it and I cry all the way home and decide it’s way too gone to fix and allow that I’ll spend future writing time on a new project and let the one I just finished sit—as a lesson well learned. And…

    • I feel your pain–many times over!

      One of the hardest things as writers is to get that critical feedback. We are so close to our own writing that it becomes nearly impossible for us to ferret out the flaws without a little help.

      But…this is good. It’s nice to get a new perspective on what our words look like to others. Too often, I know what I mean, but I might not have written it well enough for others to figure it out.

      Thanks for sharing your editing story with us!

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