There’s a quote that one may have heard before in regards to advice in writing (that oftentimes is mistakenly accredited to Ernest Hemingway): “Write drunk, edit sober.” Depending on exactly how drunk one gets, it could take a whole lot of editing before the writing sounds like something that was written with no alcohol in the system whatsoever.
And yet to edit writing like it was written while carelessly under the influence is a normal part of writing anyway. To publish something without looking over, even a few times, is the most careless thing one could do. Even with this blog post- as I do with all my blog posts- I looked over it a couple times, to make sure it sounds readable, that there are no grammar errors, and if there are any parts of it that I could strengthen, before releasing it to the public for all to see.
Everyone- ultimately those who write like the way they need to breathe- falls in love with their own writing, which is why to take a red correcting pen to the text is almost equivalent to butchering yourself with a sword (or any sharp object for that matter). You have to swallow your ego and pride and be realistic in the sense that there might be ways to better the writing; whether if that’s by means of changing a particular part of it by removing it completely in place for something contextually stronger, building off of something that’s already there, tightening up certain passages by means of removing unnecessary length to them, etc.
Of course you can only do so much when editing on your own. When you hand your writing off to another individual, you automatically get a fresh pair of eyes on your content, and is therefore able to spot parts that could be improved upon. This, of course, will involve you having to swallow your pride and ego even more, for you might not like everything you’re going to hear. At the same time, this is also an opportunity to develop a practiced ear for what advice is worthy of taking into consideration, and what advice is better off passing on. However, this also depends on who you bring on as an editor as well (hopefully it’s someone who you fully trust… and reads a lot as well).
Bouncing back to self-editing real quick, you may also have the opposite issue of what I previously stated about not wanting to touch your work hardly at all. If anything, you may be your own worst critic. There may several pages straight of red ink blazed here and there, along with margin comments about what you want to change and improve, and while that’s all fine and good, this could become a problem when enough is enough.
But imaginably, at the end of the day, it’s all about finding a right balance between both; making as many edits necessary to improve the content without changing the message or eliminating your style of writing, but also knowing when to leave it be. This past week, I feel like I’ve been in that position. Along with my second novel, I have also been writing a number of other pieces as of lately that I have been getting input for and editing myself over and over again. It’s been an editing madness, but in the process, for better or for worse, I’m getting close to my goal of releasing finalized, improved, well-crafted writing to the recipients and readers of my desire.
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 12 reviews so I’m already just past the halfway point to my goal). Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, please go vote on whether or not you would like for my second novel to be available in print or not. This poll will go on until the time comes to start the publishing process, so the more input on this decision, the better.