Tips

Surviving an Edit

Writing is emotional, but nothing hurts more than editing. Words barely describe the debauchery of a red pen marking up your hard work like a blood bath as told by George R.R. Martin. Very little in this world hurts more than feedback from an editor. Here are a few helpful tips to help you survive your first editor-author experience.

  1. Memorize the words, “This is not personal. The edits do not reflect the editor’s opinion of me or the story.” Be ready to repeat these words as needed.
  2. Read through the edits, all the way through, even if you want to stop.
  3. Say, “This is not personal. The edits do not reflect the editor’s opinion of me or the story.”
  4. Have a good cry.
  5. Hate your editor.
  6. Tell your spouse how much you hate your editor.
  7. Pause frequently to breathe and say, “This is not personal. The edits do not reflect the editor’s opinion of me or the story.”
  8. Walk away. Have a relaxing bath. Take a hot shower. Go for a walk. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of your favorite wine. Have a glass of scotch and a cigar. Go to the gym. Punch the crap out of a punching bag.
  9. Say, “This is not personal. The edits do not reflect the editor’s opinion of me or the story.”
  10. Wait 24 hours. Do not touch the computer/typewriter/pen during this time.
  11. Return to the manuscript.
  12. Say, “This is not personal. The edits do not reflect the editor’s opinion of me or the story.”
  13. Review the edits knowing that this was not personal. The edits did not reflect the editor’s opinion of you or your beautiful story.
  14. Bombard the editor with questions if you need to.

And yes… it does get easier with every edit.

 

Have a Pep Talk

Writing is all about perseverance and endurance. To get through the writing process, a new author must nurture their ego. They must think their story is epic, and they must truly believe that they are awesome. Why else would you spend 1/3rd of your life writing the book? A nurtured and, at times, an inflated ego is a tool required to survive writing. This is how you will endure the road ahead.

An editor’s job is to review and polish that work of art. Their job is to clean off the blood, sweat, and tears. An editor’s job is to be honest. But the author has been nurturing their ego for the last six years, which they must do to survive. Ironically, that same confidence that an author needs to endure the writing process, also makes the author more vulnerable to criticism because, until they have positive reviews from a stranger, the author and the author’s mother are the only fans.

And, let’s face it, mother is biased. Loved ones will lie to the author because they don’t want to hurt the author. Deep down, the author knows this. But an editor won’t lie because the author pays the editor to be honest no matter how much it may hurt. The artist with a nurtured ego will fall and when they fall, they will fall hard. The higher you are, the lower you’ll fall. Physics works.

Prepare yourself for the cold truth. Do not give in to discouragement. Do not quit. You’ve endured writing a book. It’s time to endure the edits.

Persevere and endure.