A friend once asked me which part of the writing process I enjoyed more, writing or revising. I promptly replied, “writing.” At the time, I’d only written one semi-complete manuscript for NaNoWriMo. I was still riding the wave of adrenaline from pumping out 50,000 words in a month. My position was further cemented when I tried to edit that mess of 50,000 words that I’d written in true seat-of-the-pants style.
There is something intoxicating about the first draft. The words just seem to flow, and when you manage to turn off your internal editor, the process can be fun. That’s what I enjoyed about writing the first draft. So I wrote another manuscript, and another. I just wrote for the sake of pure enjoyment...my own enjoyment, not my readers.
When I got serious about writing for publication, I made a startling revelation. I discovered that I liked editing more. I didn’t know I liked editing more because I hadn’t gotten that far in the process. I’d only been writing first drafts, but once I wanted to move my writing career beyond first drafts, I realized the beauty of editing.
Editing reminds me of cleaning, which I find very enjoyable and therapeutic. Editing is like bleaching down everything in the kitchen and moping with lavender-scented Pine-sol. Editing allows you to clean up weak spots, polish plotlines and sanitize some of the more harmful elements of a manuscript.
I guess I should have never answered my friend’s question before I’d experienced all sides of the writing process. Now that I have, I can proudly say, I enjoy the cleaning…I mean, editing more.