Little Miss Perfectionist Hates Editing

Editing and revising is the most stressful part of the writing process. I think most people would agree with that but if you’re normal, unlike me, you knuckle down and just do it, right? Work is work no matter how much you love it.

My ideas and I go through a bit of a honeymoon period. When I first get them, they’re the most beautiful thing in the world. I daydream about it, heap upon it undeserved accolades, and the urge to just get down and dirty with it (the oh so titillating writing process) is too strong to be ignored.

First bumps in the road come with writing. We have our issues. It pushes me to the limit. Sometimes I question our relationship. The rosy glasses shatter and I see it for what it is. Something very flawed and struggling like the rest of them. But it’s okay. We can perhaps work through its issues.

And then editing. This is pretty much when I start burning the furniture. It can do nothing right. There are too many flaws. I hate it more than I thought I could hate anything and I want nothing more than to shove all its ill-conceived concepts in a hole and set fire to it.

But like most troubled relationships, there’s something thrilling in the dysfunction. I come back time and time again to the idea–thinking I can fix it. Sometimes I can, more often I have to live with it until the cycle starts all over again.

What that too elaborate metaphor was trying to say is that editing is hard. It’s impossible, or at least it can feel that way. But I’m too much of perfectionist to just let a story be. I get something from agonizing over grammar, dialogue, scenes, the plot. Tinkering with everything just sends me off on this rollercoaster of emotions that I just get off on.

I go through cycles of love and hate every time I tear into a piece. So yes, little miss perfectionist does hate editing. But she also loves it. As with anything I’m passionate about, I invest too much time and emotion to words, to characters, to ideas.

Even this piece, in its hasty construction, will get the fine editing treatment. I’ll cut lines, rearrange passages, tone down some parts, amp up others, and I’ll love detesting it. Or I’ll hate loving it.