The lovely Susannah A. Martin was the author of the 1,000th comment on this blog, and was rewarded with the opportunity to write a guess post for my billions of viewers to read. And here it is:
I want to make something very, very clear: I love writing. I really do. It’s hard for me to not spend at least part of my time writing on any given day. I would prefer to spend at least an hour or two a day just writing. But there is this one little thing about writing that I don’t like. Editing.
I completely hate editing, and it’s not just because it’s boring. It is, don’t get me wrong. It’s really, really, reeeaallly, boring. But that’s not the only reason I don’t like it. The whole idea of sitting down and reviewing and fixing something that I have already written and pronounced good is—distinctly uncomfortable.
I don’t like having to fix things. I know for certain that I will never purchase any of those do-it-yourself books on fixing stuff because I just don’t want to. I especially don’t like fixing things that I have created. It makes me feel like I’m ripping my own heart out. It hurts. I know the first draft of anything is never perfect, but that’s the way it feels to me. I do a lot of editing while I write anyway (that isn’t as bad somehow), so I think that I’ve done my best, that I can’t do any better.
And then I’m forced to read sentences and paragraphs and, God forbid, pages that are just, well crap. Garbage. I don’t like doing that. I don’t like admitting to myself that I messed up, especially on something like my writing. I don’t like having to change things. I know that I’ll always feel better when the editing is over, and it will make my material more readable and pleasant, but I just don’t like it.
Let me illustrate this for you. I started writing my first book, Super Star, when I was 15 during spring break. I finished writing it a year-and-a-half later. It is now almost Thanksgiving of my 17th year. By all accounts, I should be done editing the blasted thing by now, but I’m not. Part of that had to do with how long it took other people to finish their editing of it, but most of it is that I just don’t like the process. When I do get down to work on it, it usually only takes me a day to edit one chapter. My book only has thirty chapters. I am at the beginning of chapter 22. I have nine chapters to go. Given what I already told you, this should take me about nine days. But it won’t. It will probably take me a month or so.
The good news is that it’s getting easier as I do it more often. With my book in particular, it’s getting easier because, shocker, I got better at writing after a year-and-a-half. Therefore, there’s less to edit than there was at the beginning of the book. Which is awesome. So maybe I will just hunker down and finish the bloody thing. It can’t be nearly as painful as the tripling up on calculus homework that I have to do.
Thanks for writing this, Susannah!