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Editing ≥ Writing*

The truth is, I’m better at editing than writing. I can look at a sentence and spot a word that looks out of place, a phrase that seems jarring, or an action or line of dialogue that isn’t quite right. Editing is much easier when I’m reading someone else’s writing, but even when working on my own, it’s a task I truly enjoy.

There’s a minor problem there: in order to have something to edit, I have to write. Some authors talk about how easily writing flows for them, others joke about how many hours they spend staring into space just to pull one sentence from the ether. I cycle between these two poles, sometimes in the same day. I might have an hour when I know exactly what needs to happen next, either because I’ve planned it ahead of time or I have a sudden insight into what a character needs to accomplish. Those moments are magical and precious. A few hours later, and I’m thinking of a million other things I could do (run a load of laundry, eat a snack, IMDB the movie I watched the night before) instead of figuring out what word should come next.

Those ebbs and flows happen; I can’t predict or control them. What I can do, is give myself opportunities to write each day, and the option to do something else if my mind just won’t cooperate. The more opportunities I make, the more likely I am to write something. And the more I write, the more I’ll stack up pages that I can polish, rework, and perfect.

*Leaving this post here as a reminder to my future self, in times of doubt.

Cat playing with pencil and manuscript
My editor-in-chief


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