Get Yourself A Good Editor

If you think you can do all the editing yourself, you’re probably mistaken. Sure, it seems like an easy cost to skip over on your way to the pearly gates filled with riches and strippers and all-night parties. While you probably are your own worst enemy when it comes to your writing, you may not necessarily be your editor’s best friend. When you get too close to your work, you see the forest, instead of the trees, and all of your little darlings and witticisms become your new compadres. But if you love your writing, you’re not nearly as removed from it as you need to be to edit it. So you need to toss it in a drawer for a couple of months, and then yank it out by the shirttails and take a chainsaw and chisel to the carcass. Although this may sound easy, it isn’t.

And once you’ve done all you can do, you need to pass it off to someone else—preferably a professional—to catch all the mistakes you missed. And believe me, there will be mistakes and miswording and wrong tenses and dangling modifiers and misplaced prepositions. You and your editor will go over your work multiple times before it goes to press, and even then, you’ll probably have missed a mistake or two, at which point said error will have to be corrected with the next printing. Then, you’ll look at your writing years later, and you’ll say, “Well, I could have made that sentence better or improved that paragraph or made a change or tweak there.”

If you’re a perfectionist, you have to somehow accept that your writing will never be perfect, and neither will your editor, but you have to make the relationship work for both of you. As for your writing, you have to make it the best it can possibly be at a particular moment in time, and at some point, you have to give it up for adoption. Either the world will love it, or hate it, embrace it, or shrug its wide shoulders. When that happens, it’s no longer in your control. And letting go can be the hardest thing to do.

Leave a Reply