This is probably my most hated bit of the writing process. Writing- sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it’s slow, but whatever man, I’m slamming words on the page! Writer’s block? Oh, that sucks, but I guess this is an excuse to read, or catch up on the sixteen video games I bought and are staring at me on my TV cabinet/from my Steam library.
Editing and revision though? Just set me on goddamn fire. I don’t want to re-read my stuff and figure out what I did wrong, what I could do better, or to figure out “oh my God, you literal walking trash, go sit on the curb, this is terrible”. I used to have a very “let someone else handle that attitude”. Uh, well, in a world where you shouldn’t be letting anyone see it until several drafts in, this doesn’t fly. One resource that has really helped me with that thinking and some of my other less than desirable habits is this one:
I fully recommend reading Stephen King’s: On Writing. Here’s a link to some Goodreads reviews of it https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10569.On_Writing (I should REALLY go write my review, I finally finished it and that book is a 7/5 if I ever read one, oh man). Also, feel free to add me on Goodreads and judge me for being lazy! I’m sorry I’m the worst! https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/70831452-emma-kate
Back to the issue at hand. Revision and editing is a nightmare for me. It just saps at my energy, my will to live, and my faith in my ability. I’m pretty narcissistic about my skills (but my mum told me I am the best and I won all those awards as a kid!). Unfortunately, my inability to take criticism and reflect on it, especially self delivered criticism, delayed me for years and stopped me from writing for… a long time.
While I work on my big manuscripts and ignore finishing them and the scary next stage, I’ve taken to writing short stories- some for competitions, and some for a little eBook anthology I kinda maybe wanna do. Here’s a first draft of my writing.
I’ve not edited it, but I’ve highlighted bits I want to revise in a notebook (it’s missing at least an entire scene that, going over it, I realised it needs. Otherwise the point I want to make with it is rushed and stupid, in all honesty). Even glancing at this, I can see a lot of places where it feels..stiff. I also have a penchant for unnecessary commas (the oxford comma is always necessary though, and you’re a heathen if you disagree). I’ve definitely made grammatical and structural errors in here. I don’t think they’re glaringly obvious, but I could probably go over this a few times and spot different things. Sometimes, its easy to make dumb mistakes (oh-my-god-is-that-the-correct-usage-of-an-apostrophe).
In the past, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. I would have said yeah, that’s not bad. That’s the truth of it. My initial writing isn’t bad. It isn’t good either, and it definitely isn’t fantastic like I want it to be. Much like writing is a discipline, the second and third and maybe fourth drafts are too. Fortunately, academic writing for so long has taught me to be a bit pickier and to try harder.
This is a crude and quick look over. I’m not entirely happy with it, and I’ll be going over it again once I’ve finally finished it. I’m lazy and spent maybe five minutes on that, but that still means I spent five minutes trying to improve my writing. It might be small but it is still a difference and a step towards quality writing.
While, yes, you will have other people read your work and pick up on mistakes you don’t or inconsistencies (’cause you’ll be so used to your own work, you’ll glaze over it), learning how to do even simple revision is the best skill you can have. Otherwise, who is going to want to read something that isn’t polished to the best of your abilities? Editors are there for when you can no longer provide nourishment for your baby, and you need someone else to step in. Maybe I’ll start proof-reading and revising my blog posts, too. Today probably isn’t that day. One baby step at a time, guys! On that note, I have my own writing to go weep over today.