I’m starting to think, I’m one of the few writers that actually enjoys the editing process. Some of (read most of) the writers I know moan and groan about editing. I can understand why. It takes time. A lot of time. More time than it took to write the book in most cases. I get it. You thought you were done. Doh, you’re not done. But during the editing process,
some really good stuff amazing things happen.
Here are 5 reasons why I think editing is awesome: (and no, this is not an April Fool’s joke)
1. Working with a profession editor will make you a better writer- I’m not talking about just any editor you can pick up online to edit your whole 60K word MS for $5. I’m talking about a real, professional editor that is experienced, has your best interest at heart, and actually knows what they are talking about. The lessons you learn from your editor will improve not only this MS, but all your future works. You can apply the rules and suggestions to each piece you write. Win.
2. Polishing the rough spots- You get a neutral third party to tell you where the inconsistencies and plot holes are so you can fix them, before you publish. You don’t want a reader to call you out on a mixed up timeline in a review. How many times has a famous author said that the first draft is shit? Because it is. Your idea/concept may be amazing, but if it isn’t executed and then polished to a shine, it will be shit. You wouldn’t go to a job interview without brushing your teeth, changing out of your PJs, and into a nice new outfit, would you? I could use a million different metaphors here, but the point is to put your best work forward when you publish. This is your chance to do that. Take it.
3. Understanding the technicalities- Editors mark up your MS with comments and grammatical corrections. This is great. You get to see exactly where a comma is supposed to go. You get to see how to use dialogue tags, punctuation, and italics correctly. They explain why you need to spell out numbers from one to one hundred, how to use an em dash, ellipsis, and when to stop using them. It’s no longer an abstract concept. They are showing you, in a mark-up, exactly how to fix those errors. Priceless.
4. Improving the quality of your writing- Your editor will make suggestions on doing just that. How? By suggesting changes to phrasing and sentence structure. They also advise which words you over use. They nudge you in the direction of stronger sentence structure, less passive language, and if you still don’t get it, they will lay out a few examples. My goal is to improve with each book I write, so each one is a little better than the last. This is what I need, someone to help me reach the next level.
5. Feedback from a professional- You may crave praise, but what you need is honest feedback. I’m not talking about a soul crusher whose goal is to put you and your work down. No. Any editor worth their salt would never do that. I’m talking about honest feedback you can trust. Someone to tell you when something works and when it doesn’t. It should be leveled with a dose of kindness and a pinch of sensitivity, all the while being truthful. You don’t need someone to blow smoke up your ass and tell you you’re wonderful. You need someone to tell you where you need work and where you excel so that you can become wonderful.
So before you rip your hair out, burn your latest WIP, or hide in a dark room where no one can find you, try to think of editing in a different light. Embrace it, my friends. It does a writer good. If you have a moment, take a peek at my blog about Positive Feedback.
What valuable lessons have you learned from your editor?
You can find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com
Sea Breeze and Choosing to Dream, two romances coming this summer from Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author. Stay tuned.
Be safe out there all you pranksters. I scare easily, so no sneaking up on me. Thanks.