EditingSunday, Jun 26, 2016 · 500 words · approx 3 mins to read
Psst, I’m not writing this for any good reason. It’s more, like most of the things I’ve written on my blog recently, because I’m obsessed with touching my keyboards
I’ve never really edited anything I’ve written. Even when I’ve been the editor. It’s something I’ve wanted to admit to for a while, but I don’t even really know what it means to admit it. Let me try and explain. For hopeful clarification, for the already confused (I’m confused too, by the way), I think I’m just talking about the copy editing part of editing. I don’t really know what editing written work means. Maybe that’s why I’ve never edited anything. Anyway.
See, what happens when I write is I just write. I very rarely think about it first, and I’ve only ever outlined, or changed the structure of a piece with a retrofitted outline, a tiny handful of times. I don’t know why, since I’m fairly sure a great many things I’ve written could have been immeasurably improved by the vast application of a lot more forethought. Like this thing you’re reading now.
I’ve written enough in public to fill hundreds of novels in aggregate, yet hardly any of it spent much time milling around in my brain before I started pressing keys. I wrote a lot of the same kind of thing over time, so the copy and structure of those pieces evolved, hopefully for the better, as I was more practiced at it. But I never planned for it to be that way, and I rarely went back over anything to copy edit it before handing it off to my publisher, or publishing it myself.
Once I outlined something beforehand, and it really helped, but it was one of the most involved and lengthy pieces I’d ever written and I couldn’t hold it all in my head at once as an abstract, before I started to type, and I needed to make sure I covered everything the editor needed.
The reason I’m writing about this now, other than I just want to press the keys on my current favourite keyboard some more, is that I’m thinking about writing a book. I don’t think I can get to the end of the manuscript for something that long without editing. I’ve passively watched someone write a book over the last year or so and the editing phase for that took the best part of the entire time. Even if I self edit my book, if I ever write it, I’ll definitely need to edit it. I’ve never done that before.
So if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, this mess included, all I did to prepare it for you to read, before and after I’d typed all of the words out, was form the abstract in my head and spell check it afterwards. Sometimes I didn’t even do that. If I write a book, I promise to do better.