I hate editing. A lot. It is the absolute bane of my existence. I’m a sincere perfectionist and I subconsciously hold myself to unattainably high standards. I expect to be able to so things as close to perfect as I can the first time around. Usually, this means that I get things right the first time. Or the second try. rarely do I allow myself a third try (or anything beyond that, for that matter.)
Editing, to me, is like a second try. Which is what it’s supposed to be, in a way. But I hate it. A lot. It makes me feel that I am not perfect (which I don’t claim to be but it’s still not a nice feeling to be saddled with.) Reading over my work and forcing myself to edit it feels like I am looking back on a part of me that I wish didn’t exist. If I could write a perfect novel in one go I would write a lot more, I swear. But I can’t. So I have to sift through the things that are not perfect. I have to look back at the sentences and paragraphs (and sometimes even entire chapters) that just don’t fit. I have to look at the things that don’t make sense, the imperfections, things that seemed like a good idea at the time but really weren’t. The list goes on.
I hate the fact that there is such a long curve to perfection when it comes to writing. I know that the first draft of anything (especially if we’re looking at something that was written during National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo) is gonna be sucky. And I do a lot of my best and most prolific writing during November. There’s something about the support, about the frantic urgency that is writing a novel in a month, about the sense of camaraderie that comes from knowing there are thousands of other people writing frantically in the month with you that makes the creativity flow better for me.
And I know these things. So why is editing such a terror for me?
I think that looking back on my imperfections makes me uncomfortable. As it should. I know that I will never be perfect, and I know that my work will never technically be perfect. But it should be as close to perfect as possible, shouldn’t it?
Editing is a chore. It isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be. I should be challenge, like anything else. And I suppose that I am not quite ready to face that challenge.
I’m gonna go try to edit my 2011 NaNo novel. I kind of want to see it in print one day…