Writing, editing, and the act of helping others.

So, if anyone saw my Facebook post the other day you’ll know that my editing is not going as smoothly as I would have liked. I knew the later chapters would be rough, but I had hoped that my earlier chapters would be better because I had spent some time editing those as I finished the first draft.

That was not the case. I was noticing mistakes that I knew were partly because I was being lazy with my writing. And I was pissed. Livid. I was upset that I’d spent so much time and effort working on this only to have it be less than I had hoped.

I felt defeated and dejected.

When my husband came home I cried because I felt as if I’d wasted the last two years working on this book only to have a pathetic showing. I felt it should have been more substantial, more polished simply given the number of hours put into it.

I was shown the hard truth by my own writing that time put in does not necessarily equal quality work. I learned once again that I’m still very new to this. That beginner mistakes are just mistakes. The only way the story improves is by me putting in even more time into it.

 

 

I felt a bit like a fraud when I had to talk with a client about her work that I was editing because I didn’t feel like I had the clout to back up what I was telling her. How could I expect her to take me seriously when my own writing was covered with a pen’s worth of red edits?

john-schnobrich-520023-unsplash

As I spoke with her I was reminded that by helping her I was strengthening my own knowledge of the craft. If I could explain it to her in a manner that she understood and was helpful it meant that I must be doing something right.

Roman philosopher Seneca said, “while we teach, we learn”. I felt that very strongly when I was working with this client.

I’m sure that anyone in their respective field feels this way, but it’s so true for writing. No book is written the same way, and we are always learning something new because each story is something different and unique.

We learn through constant repetition and the bullheadedness to be better. At least that’s how I learn.

So, I will edit my first chapter again. Do I feel completely rejuvenated and convinced that this will be a masterpiece? Hardly, but I might be able to look at it without feeling sick to my stomach, and that is certainly an improvement from Monday.

 

“Glasses” photo by Mari Helin on Unsplash

“Editing” photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

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