Oh dear God, editing season is upon me once again. Why, why, why? Goddamn it, I hate editing. I HATE IT. It is the worst. The absolute worst. WORST.
I’ve been moping around the streets of my town whining and complaining in the above fashion for a week or so now, as I wait for the first of two annual editing onslaughts to begin. I know exactly how annoying my melancholy over the editorial process sounds, and indeed, I am being melodramatic. But there’s not a lot I get to whinge about in this job that people would understand. While it might be hard to relate to my crisis over a fictional character’s love life or my concern over how my afternoon nap addiction is impacting my word count, people who aren’t writers could probably understand that editing sucks. Twice a year I hand in something I’ve been working on every day for six months and someone sends back a half a dozen typed pages of things wrong with it. There will be parents who have watched their kids pick dejectedly through their carefully constructed dinners. Romantic partners who have watched their loved one’s face fall at the opening of a badly chosen birthday present. No matter how well you write as a writer, I think, there’s no way to interpret an edit other than that – no matter how hard you tried – what you wrote wasn’t perfect. And of course, being a writer and thus an egomaniac, I inevitably take this to mean that not I do is perfect. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be perfect. And I so desperately need to be perfect.
There are writers who love editing. I know who you are. I can almost hear you reading this – probably squinting at it, looking for dangling modifiers and the like, snickering pitifully to yourself at how ignorant I am of the satisfaction that comes with improvement (and self-righteously, because you know what a goddamn dangling modifier is – you saw one in the Herald this morning). You call editing ‘polishing’, and you have a collection of expensive red pens. You take pictures of your editing, spread artistically over a hardwood table, cappuccino in the corner of the frame, dusty sepia filter. Hashtag editing, hashtag awesome, hashtag with-each-typo-discover-I-become-more-pure. Well, this is what I have to say to you, editing lovers: You are weird. I don’t understand you. I am unnerved and suspicious of your enthusiasm for this horrible business of raking through work for opportunities for betterment. Hhmph!
Editing is like agreeing to meet with an old boyfriend to sit down over a series of hours and investigate how your relationship might have been better performed. Where did things go wrong? Who was at fault? What wasn’t convincing, and where were feelings felt wrongly or not felt at all?
I don’t want to go back into a book once it’s written. My tight schedule of two books a year means that by the time I’m wrapping up a novel, I’ve been having an emotional affair with the next book in secret for a couple of months. Now, finally, we get to be together. We get to embrace and explore each other after so much quiet yearning. Buttons popping. Hair pulling, gut-wrenching intimacyyyyyy…
Oh wait. Hang on. There’s that other guy – I just need to go deconstruct things with him before I can continue on here. Excuse me. *pulls jeans back on*
Urgh. Fucking editing.
So anyway, here I go, having successfully procrastinated here, constructing this blog post and not beginning the nightmare-monster-horrible-horrible edit of Redemption Point, the second in the Crimson Lake series. Feel free to contribute to my diatribe about editing, or to profess your hopeless devotion to it, in the comments below.