Today I happened to be over at my TwitterSister Eisley Jacob’s blog checking our her post on editing and revising. This is a topic which is always dear to my heart, since I spend so much of my time on a book in this phase. I left a comment to let Eisley know I stopped by and supported her efforts during this phase, but by the time I was done with my comment, I realized I had written a blog post in her comments. So, I thought I should reproduce my thoughts here and maybe expand a little bit on them.
I need to start with a very simple statement about my feelings. Revising/editing is the bane of my existence. . . and I – LOVE – EVERY – MINUTE!!!
It’s also something which takes time. I can write the book itself in a relatively short time frame, but will spend MONTHS revising and editing. Every word in every sentence in every paragraph MUST be reviewed and mulled over. And there are days in which I think I will go insane doing it. (No comments necessary from my peanut gallery, please.) BUT the end result is soooo worth the effort.
I think about the writing process as similar to mining. In writing you start with a blank page and either a pen or a computer, and dive in to your imagination trying to find a story line using the flickering light of the glimmering idea to light your way. In mining, you get suited up, ensuring you have the proper equipment; hard hat with light, picks, and something to haul stuff back to the surface. You dig deep to find the raw material, getting excited when you hit a rich vein. You follow the vein until it unexpectedly comes to an end, and then cast about for another vein as rich, which may go even deeper. As you work, you put props along the way to help prevent cave in, and mark the walls so you can find your way back. When you’re done, you know you’ve collected enough, you have a pile of rubble with gems hidden inside. Or with writing, you have your first draft.
But it doesn’t do any good to have collected the raw materials if you don’t do anything with them, so the revision and editing process begins. Dusting off your tools, you pick up a chunk and start chipping away to free the diamond inside. Once you’ve knocked away the crust and have reached the diamond itself, you’re not done by a long stretch. Now you have to figure out how this particular chunk will best present and you pick up your finest tools, and delicately tap away, taking off a shiny bit here and there, removing as many flaws as you can, to ensure the end result shines and refracts the light with brilliance. This is a very painstaking and time consuming process. But without this process, the diamond-in-the-rough remains a lump of coal.
The bottom line is editing and revising is where you give your work a chance to shine – why would you want to bypass or rush it?