Editing Headaches…

Editing... The dreaded beast seems to have come to haunt me again. Just when I thought I had finished with this manuscript, there it is again. The revisions just go on, and on, and on, and on... Did I mention that they go on and on?

When you're writing, it's the inner critic that whispers sweet little nothings about self-doubt that just won't go away. If you're anything like me, you type so fast that sometimes your brain struggles to keep up; the spelling goes out the window and the autocorrect monster just gobbles up that carefully chosen word... without you noticing!

But the editor in me can't just let a new piece of writing go unchecked. I always go back and reread what I had written after a break (even a break as short as a toilet break). I see the punctuation errors, the grammar flaws, and the faults in the writing itself. I struggle in a big way to shut off the editor brain long enough to actually do any writing.

Then I start to question the story idea. Is this taking me away from where I wanted the story to go? Would my characters really behave like that? Why is this character or scene even here?

I swear, I need to find a padded cell in some deep, dark corner of my mind and lock the inner critic away so I can actually finish this damned manuscript. I tried the sound-proof room, but she keeps getting out.

Thankfully, for this particular manuscript that I'm working on, it's mainly reworking current chapters, removing scenes that take the story away from the main thread, and reintroducing deleted scenes from way-back-when that should have never been deleted in the first place. But this has put my editor brain into one hell of a conundrum. The rewrites of scenes need to happen without any interference from the editor, but the editor gets to have a play only moments after the rewrite is finished.

Banging head on deskI have decided that editing of one's own manuscript definitely has a process that one must follow to the letter:

  1. Write new material.
  2. Read material written before you went to the toilet.
  3. Rewrite the dribble that you wrote before you went to the toilet.
  4. Reread said rewritten dribble and yell at the computer screen because this is even more dribble.
  5. Bang your head on the desk to remove any memory of said dribble.
  6. Cry, because now you have a headache.
  7. Scream. (Maybe someone will actually notice that you're having a bad day.)
  8. Turn off your computer and go eat that entire bar of chocolate (or drink that entire bottle of wine, or maybe both).
  9. The next day, start all over again, praying that you don't write more dribble.

In all this journey, there is one thing that I constantly remind myself of: I have never given up on something that I feel so passionate about. As long as the passion for the story is still in me, then it will happen.

Copyright © 2016 Judy L Mohr. All rights reserved.

This article first appeared on judylmohr.com

Posted in A Writer's Journey, Humor, Personal Favourites, Writing and tagged , , .

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