I Just Plain Stink at Editing

Healthy people the world over say that in order to lose weight, you must not merely exercise; you also need to eat right. Diet, exercise. Exercise, diet. The two balancing forces must coexist. “You can’t outrun a bad diet” comes to mind. You can’t run ten miles and then spend the entire day eating that new (delicious) dairy-free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. You must also eat some carrots.

Writing is very similar to this. If you’re doing it all yourself as an indie author, you must be your own copy editor as well as the author supreme. You have to have both the editing + writing in order to produce a quality product.

BUT

Writing is just so much more fun than editing. Words come out of me like hot vom at a kid’s birthday party. I love to do it. I’m also very speedy about doing it, and I reach writing word count goals with a smile on my face.

I’m awful at editing and I hate to do it. It’s hard for me to step far enough back from a piece to repair larger flow infractions. I may be able to catch a typo if I squint, but if the whole short story doesn’t make sense…I just delete the whole thing and start over. True story. I would rather destroy days and days of work than try to mess with the fragments of a story that stinks.

BUUT

Erotica comes across as unprofessional when it’s unedited. However, it’s a high-volume genre powered by individuals who are working without a team, on ancient laptops, with their loved ones saying things like “what the heck are you doing on that computer!” all of the time around them. And dogs are barking too, for some reason.

Readers may have looser expectations for the genre if they have love in their hearts, but no author wants to be caught with a typo in their story. It just makes the whole thing look sad, diminished. The author you love falls a little bit in your esteem. The sky darkens.

BUUUTTT

I’m going to try to work on my editing ability. A very close erotica amiga of mine let me know of a few typos in my last short, and I updated ASAP. I would rather someone tell me each small instance of a comma infraction than let it go unsaid, sort of like having a piece of food stuck in my teeth.

A part of my strategy is to take a much longer amount of time going through the text itself, reading aloud where necessary, and finding a quiet place to edit. My newest scheme is to “reward” myself after the completion of each short by visiting a VERY expensive local coffee shop and buying myself coffee and treats until the full piece is edited.

What strategies work for you? Do you kind of like editing, or is it really painful and terrible? Sometimes when you try to edit, do you think about how nice it would be to accept Death’s warm kissy embrace? I do.