I am about to step into the part that I dread the most in anything that I do creatively, editing and finalizing. The personal challenge is that I have too critical an eye. If I were ever to try to make a canoe I would end up with a toothpick when I get to the sanding. Why? Because I would see the smallest of bumps on one side, smooth it out too much and then have to level the other side. Back and forth until there is nothing but a sliver left.
Editing is the same way. Instead of editing what's on the page I re-analyze the content, think about adding more detail, changing the story a little bit then have to change something else because of the new points. Next thing I know I have a short story of 6,000 words grow to 12,000 telling the same story.
I am not going to say that I am an expert or even seasoned as a writer... yet, so I cannot claim I know which way is correct. In fact the only one that can say which techniques or problems lie ahead of a writer is the writer. Everyone's brain is wired differently. Mine is a trained mind of computer science and programming where there is little wiggle room and zero room for interpretation. These are counterproductive characteristics in creativity.
Here are the tips that I have found profoundly helpful:
- Don't edit as you write your drafts. Finish it, no matter how awful and full of errors it may seem, finish it first.
- The first edit, edit what's on the page, fix the errors, clean up the grammar, sand out the bumps.
- Second edit look at content, story flow, patch the holes, but only patch. If you think a paragraph is bloat, get rid of it. It's OK to take away.
- When you are done, you are done. Let your child go.
Anyone can work on a piece of art forever. In my opinion the worst critic is the creator, at least it is for me. Constant tweaking, fiddling, messing with the originality of the creation will only make it worse. There comes a time to say it's done, time to set it free to stand on its own.
Star Wars anyone?
Time to turn the page....