It struck me today (right between the eyes, I might add) that Editing is a lot like Childbirth.
That's a weird analogy, you might think. Let me explain.
What is the common thread between the two? A lot of agonizingly hard work.
Step One: There's the initial excitement and joy of the moment when the story in first conceived in your mind. (Ahem. Nuff said, I think.)
Step Two: This if followed by a nervous excitement and you wonder if it's really happening. Will this ever be a more than and idea? Do I really have something here? Could this be something wonderful?
Step Three: Then there's the thrill and scary realization that it is actually happening!
Step Four: You slave for months growing and nurturing this story until you type those magical words: "The End." It is finished.
For some of us this "pregnancy-stage," the writing of the first draft, can be very difficult. We suffer. We can't sleep, we forget to eat, we have weird dreams, our hair falls out and our backs hurt from bending over the keyboard. We doubt ourselves, our ability to write the thing, or to do the story justice. But we persevere. Why? Because now we're in love. The story is infused with a piece of our heart and we're determined to see it though.
Step Five: The Birth.
This is where all the true discomfort and pain begins. Yes. The story in written, but now it's time for us to get really serious. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. Editing isn't for the faint of heart. Editing is hard work!
It's in the editing that we writers shed the most blood, sweat and tears. (This is true for me at least.) It's tough. There are no shortcuts. No cheats. There's no one you can bribe to make it better. It's just you, nose to the grind stone, word by word, page by page, chapter by chapter, hacking, tweaking and polishing.
Your creativity has to be brought under control, the desire to write restrained, and the editor's scalpel brought out. It might not be pretty. It might hurt like hell. But you know that eventually, when the pain and the hard slog are over, your story will gleam like the perfect creation it was intended to be.
Let's face it, birth is a natural, painful and messy process, but not with out its rewards. The same goes for editing our wee darlings. And like the pain of childbirth, we, oh so easily, forget the horror of editing when the next delightful story woos us into beginning the process all over again!
We're suckers. There's really no hope for us.
My wee darling calls. Editing awaits me.
...And the next delightful story already begins to woo me!