In writing this blog right now, I am eating my vegetables first– If I were, that is, an eight-year old child who doesn’t like to eat vegetables; which incidentally I am not. Reading about editing (and how not to let editing interfere with ones writing) has given me a desire to skip to dessert and work on my own story.
But of course, being possessed of great self-discipline (among many other fine qualities, including modesty, as you can tell), I am refraining and doing my homework first. Ahem. So let the journal begin!
Let me start off by saying that “The Artful Edit” by Susan Bell, is the first interesting, helpful literature on writing better that I have ever read. My pulse quickens at the turn of every page when I spot a new method for stepping back, butterflies swarm my stomach and make a great effort to get out whenever I encounter a list… and after each section my fingers twitch in anticipation of trying out these tactics.
I know from experience that effective editing rides a very thin line; it’s important not to stifle your creative flow with excessive tweaking and twisting, but at the same time, you will only produce a work worth reading if you manage to maintain a critical, unbiased mindset. My biggest problem in my writing is getting enough distance from my work in order to see the big picture– I always feel unsure about whether a character’s words or a certain scene play into the entire plot well. And so I plan on incorporating two bits of advice into my future writing: First off, right now I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll let events happen naturally, and then go back and change them after I’ve finished the entire draft. And second, I definitely want to try printing out the manuscript and looking at it topographically, for the benefits in editing and because I think it’d be really cool to view it in that way.
Alright, I’ve scraped the last bit of vegetables off my plate and so can move onto dessert without a guilty conscience. Peaceful, edit-free writing, here I come!