Monday, February 20, 2012

Editing Angst

How does anyone survive the editing process? No, I'm totally serious. I haven't even started yet, and I'm sure my blood pressure has elevated to dangerous levels. I can't sleep, for I'm busily rewriting scenes as I lay in the dark, tossing and turning.


Hopefully, all this angst is going to prove unnecessary. After all, I haven't received back my first run of edits. Perhaps that's the problem. I can't help but imagine downloading my manuscript and finding it filled with so much redlining that I can't wade through it. My stomach clinches when that picture flashes into my head. Perhaps the writing is so horrible she can't even find a starting point for tearing it apart. See what I mean? It's a terrible feeling to know some stranger with a lot of experience is killing off your darlings - or not. 


I guess that makes me an impatient person. Well, that's no secret. I always start on my Christmas Wish List by the 2nd of January, if not sooner. I'm not greedy, but I don't want to forget great gift ideas that I find at the beginning of the year, when Christmas falls at the opposite end of the calendar.


So how do you stop that second-guessing and worry over what your editor will eventually bring to you? Do you start on that next novel? Do you sit and eat chocolate all day long? Do you shop? I'd really love to hear from any of you regarding what works for you. Whatever I'm doing, is definitely not working.


As always, comments are welcome.

18 comments:

Suzanne said...

I ALWAYS have a WIP, even if I'm just nibbling away at it during my busiest days. Also, nothing beats anxiety like exercise...karate or running. And always remember--there are scores of unpublished authors who'd love to be in the editing process.

Misty Waters said...

I, like Suzanne, always have another WIP to work on or plot or edit for the millionth time. I actually managed to FORGET my latest WIP was out. A year ago was a different story, lol. I'm getting calmer the longer I go through the process, I guess. The more I learn, the less I worry.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Suzanne - ah, yeah, exercise. I heard that word once. I DO have a WIP, but the progress part is what's bothering me - I'm too distracted to work on it much, although I have been doing better lately.

Misty - I look forward to the day when I can even pretend to forget about a book coming out. That must be a great thing to experience.

Thanks to both of you for the comments, and for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you so much.

J.L. Campbell said...

Maybe that why writers write so much. We have to keep ourselves occupied while our newest baby finds its way into the world. You could be driving yourself nuts for nothing, ya know. Could be your editor doesn't require you to do a whole ton of rewrites.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

J.L. Thanks for the comment. Man, that would be wonderful if there were few rewrites, but I'm not expecting that. And it's not a problem if there are, it's the not knowing that's driving me nuts. But I'll be sure to let everyone know when I get the word.

Mark Smith said...

As someone just getting into the world of self-publication, I don't get to/have to sit around, dreading what horrible things an editor is thinking of my work. Instead, it's ME that's causing all the angst! I'm on my 6th or 7th go through and, if I didn't like me so much, I'd be cursing and screaming at all the little goofs and clumsy sentences. I think the answer must, must, must be that other work-in-progress. It's what I turn to when I'm sick of re-reading my words for the umpteenth time. I even fool myself into thinking that the next one will be SO much smoother from all I learned from the last one. [ http://somewhatsillystory.blogspot.com/ ]

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Mark - It is very difficult to edit one's own work. I'm a continual editor, so today, although I wrote over 1,000 words, I deleted half of them. It makes the going slow.

But even with self-publication, I would advise you to seek out sharp betas and writing buddies to help you with your editing. Trading off chapters is a good way of doing that, because you are motivated to keep writing for that next submission date coming up, and it gives you practice with editing another's work.

Sharon Ledwith said...

How do I survive the editing process. Scotch. Single Malt Scotch.

Natalie Star - Young Adult Author said...

LOL I Love the photo! That's what my face looked like an hour ago when I opened my MS and looked at my line editors notes!

No story changes, but I need to go back to school and take a refresher course. I'm a comma whore so I scaled back, but apparently too much. Then I have a tendency to ramble, so I didn't get as detailed as I normally do, and yep you guess it, I didn't include enough detail. It would be sooo nice to get it right one day!

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Sharon - I don't do alcohol, but someone on Musa shared a recipe for Nanaimo Bars - something I had never heard of but found a recipe for as quickly as possible. Now I have this amazingly decadent indulgence in the kitchen, and that's the only thing getting me through!

Natalie - I don't want anyone with a camera near me when I finally do get my edits back. That would not be pretty! I hear you with the commas and the rambling. I wonder if we have the same writing style, because I can so identify with your comments.

Cornell said...

I would start writing something new, whether it ends up being something you keep or not. At least it would occupy your time and take your mind off the editing process. And, if it's any encouragement, I wouldn't worry too much about what your editor is doing. I've read your book, and I don't think it's anywhere near as needy as you're presuming. It's going to be fine.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Thanks, Cornell. I am working on that next one! Oh, and I've spoken with my editor. She's warned me that she really likes her red pen. I think I shall worry now.

Sandra Tyler said...

With both my novels. I nada fantastic line editor. He was good because he was insightful but also respecting of my own opinion. If I felt strongly about an edit, he would honor that. But difference was, we actually sat down together to go over the whole manuscript on paper. The way it should be but sure it isn't anymore.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Sandra - that would be amazing to be able to sit together with the editor and work face to face. You are very fortunate in that regard. I appreciate your input. I'm feeling less stressed as things progress.

butitsshiny said...

I find that for myself the best thing I can do when waiting is picking up a new craft or something. Making things for myself or others from that craft helps a lot. Like others have also posted, writing more doesn't hurt either. :)

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

butitsshiny - I had to laugh at your comment. I totally fail at crafting of any kind. I can sew a bit, used to crochet, but that's it. If spring were here, I'd be out digging in the garden. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love getting to know my readers.

Julie Frayn said...

I don't have a "real" editor, but I've had 15 beta readers who give great feedback, and will be putting my next draft out to 10 strangers (which will be fun). I look forward to getting the marked up ms, and if there aren't many marks, I'm kind of disappointed. Not that I want criticism, but I want to improve the story. while I wait? Uh, wine. I haven't been able to start the next book (even though I know what it will be) until I get this one ready for querying. Have to learn how, because it feels like I'm wasting precious time.

dustycrabtree said...

I actually LOVED editing! I totally agree with Julie. It was cool to get help in improving my story, knowing that her advice was so good and just made the story even more amazing. I also hadn't actually written in "my baby" in a while, so it was fun to be able to write again - even little things. Also, she threw in lots of good comments too, so every new batch she sent was like opening presents at Christmas. :)

Post a Comment