Editing is a nightmare. Don’t trust me? Ask your author friends.
Writing is way too easy until we are put up with the editing. Editing phase can be stressful that it can take a toll on your mental health. While I don’t have years of editing experience to show in my portfolio, I have worked with a few editors and would like to share my experience with up and coming authors.
Why is editing so stressful?
Simple. Because this is when you’re put face to face with your mistakes.
Yes, while editing an author see 99% of his or her mistakes. Many authors know how to effectively handle this, but newbie authors who’re going into editing for the first time often struggle a lot.
Our experience doesn’t have to be the same, but I’m assuming some of you will be able to relate with me. Especially, bilingual authors to whom English isn’t their mother tongue.
Authors usually have a love-hate relationship with editing. While the end result is something to look forward to, the entire process could be exhausting. Several things happen during the editing phase. This is the stage where you cleanse, revise, rewrite, add/remove scenes and polish your script for publishing.
My struggle with insecurities:
The struggle is real. I rewrote my very first manuscript at least eight times. There were so many things to learn and in each round I kept finding mistakes.
First of all, when someone pointed out the mistakes I was eager to right it. So, I learned how to do it right and ended up rewriting the entire thing. Then when my script was accepted, I thought things would be easy. But no. The real struggle began there.
The professional editor I was assigned with, had a Keen eye for plot holes and what not. She pointed out every single mistake on my script and while she was nice about it, I'd be honest to admit, the insecurity demon poked its head in.
Every time I sit before the computer, I saw only my mistakes. I kept thinking ‘I'm not good enough.’ I blamed myself for even wanting to write. I almost gave up. Called it quits.
It was my online author friends, who kept me going. They encouraged me and reminded me of things I have achieved so far.
For people who don't know about me, I started writing online on Wattpad and Inkitt. I was mostly praised for my writing style. Hardly anyone pointed out a mistake. So, the first thing I had to do was to understand and accept is that the world outside online platforms is different.
Editing initially took a toll on me. I kept procrastinating, wallowed in self pity. Played blaming games with myself. Cursed for becoming a writer. But then, stepped in my online author friend, Melissa, who heard me through and told me to believe in myself.
We went to Google docs, where she looked at every suggestion made by my editor.
Melissa suggested another rewrite. She didn't stop there. She identified where I'm having trouble and showed me a few samples by rewriting a few scenes for me.
With the confidence she gave me, I set out to start fresh. Now, after 6 months of hard work, I look back and realize, it was all worth it. I should thank my publisher in all this. They had been really patient with me when I told them I want to rework on the script and allowed me to work on my own pace.
Believe in yourself:
Throughout my experience, one thing I learned is to believe in myself. If you don't love your story enough, nobody will.
Your story has to make you happy as a reader first. Does it make you laugh? Does it make you cry? Are you able to feel the emotions in your words? Those were the questions you want to ask yourself.
Anyone who talks to me about editing, I'd tell them to keep an open mind. You may think your script is perfect, but in reality, it's riddled with mistakes. You won't even realize it, until someone points it out. What you think as the best scene ever might poke the readers in the eye.
One can hone your skills only when he or she accepts his or her mistakes and learn from it. Don't be afraid of your mistakes. See it as a means to learn.
Again, as an author you should know when to accept or reject suggestions. When the changes suggested are within reason, always try to do better.
I'll talk more about editing and other writing related stuff in my upcoming posts. Stay tuned.
Also, I'd like to know your experiences with editing. How did you overcome the struggle? What helps you better? Email me your experience at Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for a chance to get featured in our blog.