Writing is the easy part. Those moments when the words can’t help but find the pages, right? That’s writing. That sensation so pure you know the words as they come to you may have been gifted by god and can never be taken away.
Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. After you have those words, you have to sit down and put some serious effort into making them better.
That’s right. Writing’s the easy part. I’m sure there are some authors out there who sit down and their first draft is absolutely so amazing that they can just submit it and everyone loves it, but that doesn’t work for anyone I know. That’s lawyers and doctors and physicists and astronomers and creative writers. Even the best of them requires some time to sit down and edit their work.
EDITING!!! (Ahem… sorry…)
This isn’t a fair fight. Nor should it be. Not between the red pen, tip already dripping searing ink, and those vain words called a draft. But, it’s not supposed to be. This THING you assault is a first draft, where the great characters and idea go to hide or become born under the stress of having a world they can rule. That 1st Draft should not survive. For a more mundane comparison, we’re mining for ideas. Someone’s identified the vein of gold or iron and we’re mining to get to those pure deposits. Along the way, 99 percent of that’s just dirt, crap we don’t need.
This red pen is your lightsaber, given to you for a holy purpose, find the errors and the Sith and burn them out. Despite knowing they’ll just come back in another draft.
For me, editing often takes far longer than actually writing. I have to sit down and consider the piece that I’ve written as a whole. Often that means plenty of rewrites and fifth and sixth drafts, but as I go, my sense of what my writing is meant to accomplish coalesces. Newer drafts, though often containing wholesale revisions, come closer to my nebulous intent.
Have I become clear yet. Writing requires no thought. Writing requires no one to take the blame, no witness to the structural weaknesses in your tale.
Your first draft is the illusion of a Dream. REVISION reveals this dream as the siren she truly is and we just need to plug our ears to ignore her call.
How long does editing everyone else? Do you take the time to consider every word before it goes on the page?