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I am a writer and dreamer, currently working on blogs and a book series.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


I found this rant on editing to which I'm sure all writers and editors can relate.  It's by Dawn Napier and here's the link for more of her work: http://convozine.com/15870-dawn-napier

The Five Stages of Editing

Everyone talks about how hard and lonely a job it is to be a writer.  Maybe I'm just a freak of nature, but I don't get it.  How can I be lonely when I'm writing?  I'm surrounded by amazing people, and they all have stories to tell that keep me up all night.  And it's fun.  In what other job can I create entire universes out of the air, make them move and dance to my whim, and blow them up when I'm having a bad day? 

                But there's one part that I do hate with all my heart and soul, and that's the editing process.  That part is both hard and lonely, not to mention exhausting and heartbreaking.  It's a rollercoaster of emotion made all the more poignant by its complete lack of documentation in peer-reviewed psychology journals.  I call it the Five Stages of Editing.

                Stage One:  Shock.  I always let my work marinate for a few weeks before going back to work on it, and I am invariably horror-struck by how badly written it is.  Grammatical errors!  Adverbs in dialogue attribution!  Overuse of the phrase "the fact that"!  Oh God, this thing blows like a wind tunnel.

                Frequent activities during this stage include drinking, surfing the Net, and picking fights with my husband—fights that usually begin with the question, "Do you still think I'm pretty?"

                Stage Two:  Depression.  I'll never make this piece of crap readable.  I've been wasting my time.  Maybe I'm wasting my life.  How will I ever rub elbows with legends like Stephen King and Brian Keene if I don't even know the difference between lie and lay?  I'll have to die a horrible booze-soaked death if I ever want to see my name in print.

                Frequent activities include drinking heavily, watching way too much TV, and getting maudlin over life insurance commercials.  Any mention of the passage of time, getting older, or lifelong regrets is likely to induce an hour's worth of PMS-like weeping.  My children seem to find this stage the most disconcerting, maybe because I have been known to clutch them to my bosom and whimper, "I regret NOTHING!"

                Stage Three:  Renewed Hope.  This stage is one of the most bittersweet.  It can usually be induced by reading a chapter or two from an extremely poorly written bestseller.  Opinions vary, but I personally recommend Fifty Shades, Flowers in the Attic, or any of the Twilight books.  The trick to reaching this stage is to realize that I don't have to be Ernest Hemingway; anyone has a chance.  Anyone.

                Now that I'm back in the game, my only activity aside from actually editing the damn novel is posting on various Internet forums about the unfairness of the publishing world.  "How can that crap be a bestseller?  Why do so many people have the literary taste of a grasshopper?"  This sort of post gets great responses on indie author forums.

                Stage Four:  Determination.  I will quit my day job, and I will make a living at this.  Bitches better get out of my way, because this bitch is back and taking no prisoners—and hey where's the coffee?  My head is KILLING me.

                Frequent activities include editing, drinking coffee by the pot, and swearing on heaven and hell and everything in between that it is going to happen for me this time.  Scrapbook full of rejection slips be damned, full speed ahead!

                Stage Five:  Pride.  This is when it's time to pass around the Xerox copies, email the pdf, and read the work aloud to my writing group.  I am one crazy sexy writing mama, and I want the world to know it!  I did a bang-up job, hell yes I did, and if the stuffy Establishment chooses to reject me again, that's their loss.  Hey, maybe I'll self-publish it and make some REAL money!  (PS--the stage of Pride has sometimes been re-labeled "Complete and Utter Delusion.")

                Eventually, emotional equilibrium is reach, and life returns to normal.  Then I start submitting my work to publishers, cross my fingers, and the rollercoaster starts all over again.

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