Take that, you ratty piece of doggerel, you deleterious typo-ridden filth! I have vanquished you! I’ve un-split your infinitives, activated your voice, replaced your modifiers! I’ve deleted your adverbs, your verys, your evens, your reallys, your thats, your excessive its! I’ve stomped on your cliches and eradicated your redundancies, and when I am done I celebrate above your pixelated remains! Beware these maniacal, darling-killing fingers!
I edit passionately.
I didn’t think about this until recently, maybe as a result of my having read so many writing blogs in the last eight months. For some reason a lot of writers present editing as a cold and calculating process, involving considerable weaponry to be used in the art of killing darlings. Maybe this isn’t what they mean but you get a sense of orderliness reading their blogs just the same, as if somehow, overnight, they’ve learned to control their creative impulses.
But that’s ludicrous. Editing without creative impulses? What if you have to rewrite, or revise extensively? What if you see a bad paragraph? Do you just cut it or do you fix it? How can you fix it without applying your usual writerly passion?
And even if that’s not the case, am I really the only one who does a (metaphorical — usually) Happy Dance when I finish editing a scene? Am I not supposed to fist-pump the air around my desk when I’m excited to have made the writing better?
Editing gets a bad rap, I think because people focus on the negativity. Ack! There are flaws in my precious writing! Terrible foolhardy errors! I’m a terrible writer!
But that’s only the first step. The next step is fun. You see a flaw, you fix it, and when you’re done, it’s better.
What an awesome feeling! Who doesn’t like to win? And why shouldn’t that be exciting?