Why I prefer editing to writing

Recently, on the Write for Your Life podcast, I talked about there being two essential elements to writing: the writing itself and the showing it to people.
I said it in reference to the age-old issue of being a confident a writer, and the leap of faith you need to take when it comes to putting your work out there. Things are never quite the same once you’ve allowed someone else into the world that you’ve created.

Anyway, I was being simplistic for effect and there are, of course, many facets to writing. And some are more enjoyable than others.

On her blog, Writability, Ava Jae today talked about how her favourite writing process has switched from racing through a first draft to the hard yards of editing and revision.

Here’s what she said:

I love writing. And I adore revision because it reminds me of why I love writing so much in the first place. It reminds me that all of the time and effort I’ve put into this WIP is worth it, because I can see my work improving before my very eyes.

I have to say, I completely agree. Some people enjoy the endless possibility that comes with a blank page and a handful of notes, but I get far more out of taking what I’ve got and making it better.

I love adjusting and refining. I adore taking my time to think carefully about what I want to say and achieve. I get a kick out of finding the right words.

When you’re first getting your ideas down on the page, you’re forever feeling your way. When you’re working through amends for the umpteenth time, you fully understand what you’re creating.

The writing process can be lots of fun, but there’s something uniquely thrilling about working on something repeatedly and so intensively that you know it inside out.

4 Comments

avalonjaedra@gmail.com 19 July 2012 Reply

Firstly, thank you for linking to me and writing this thoughtful post! Secondly, I love the way you explained the reasoning behind your preference. The whole process is truly special and the final result is beyond gratifying.

iain@writeforyourlife.net 19 July 2012 Reply

No problem! It’s good to think about the parts of your writing that you enjoy the most as it gives you a bit of clarity. The more you understand what you’re doing, the better.

terrycohoe@gmail.com 29 July 2012 Reply

I find editing to be stressful. I don’t have enough practice at it, maybe, but I can’t help feeling overwhelmed by it. Doing a fabulously free first draft, however, is my big thrill. 🙂

iain@writeforyourlife.net 29 July 2012 Reply

It really is stressful, but it’s the part of the writing process where you turn your ideas into something more structured. It may be hard work, but it’s also more rewarding, I find.

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