You Think Editing Is Hard?

Try not editing.

Of my five WIPs (Works in Progress… I guess grammatically the “s” is in the wrong place. Who cares?) is the conversion of the running memo I kept during my treatment for breast cancer into something I can share with a wider audience.

I thought a lot about how I wanted to accomplish that transformation. At one point I was considering making it deliberately educational, including charts and stats and all that jazz. In the end, not only did that seem like a lot of work but it also wasn’t what I was trying to say. There are a lot of educational books out there. There are not a lot of books that take you through the experience in real time, delivered in a very personal way.

So I am now working on editing the dern thing. But! I really want to preserve the unpolished in-the-moment feeling of it. So I am restricting my editing very harshly. I’m not allowing myself to change the wording at all. This is so hard for me! This editing is almost exclusively for formatting. I am allowing myself to convert to a plural when I clearly meant to do so originally, and I have found the occasional stray piece of punctuation… Other than that I’m making myself leave it alone.

Ordinarily when I edit I am very concerned with word choice and phrasing. To have to suppress that part of my editing skills while keeping my eye sharp for the things that need to be changed… seriously challenging.

I have to say, though, that the hoops one has to jump through for publishing are still the hardest part of being a writer. That makes me want to pull my hair out, whereas this editing thing is like an itch I can’t scratch.

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