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I Hate Editing

January 8, 2013 by Kiersi

I have no idea what this is, but it is awesome

"Crazy Frog" by moffoys - Who even cares what it is, it is perfect

There are some superstar authors who don’t hate editing or revising. I spend a lot of my revision time envying them, instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing, because that’s how I roll. And that’s probably also why I still haven’t finished a revision of my middle-grade book, Gryphon. Because I hate revising.

I do love writing, though.

So, over time I’ve been building up my resolve, and packing it together like a mud pie from lots of little shredded pieces of sanity (they fall off now and again, and must be collected in a handmade wicker basket). The following bullet points have occurred to me:

-Print it all out, to stop the ever-present I must change this word right now, this isn’t right, and now I am so hung up on this one stupid line that I am so frustrated with myself and I wish this had all never happened at all goodbye world.

-Mark it up with non-red pens, in order to psychologically trick myself into thinking that maybe, in blue, it’s not all bad (love me some blue, mm-HMM)

-Think of it like writing a new, better book than the previous one. Even if that means literally retyping every single freaking word. Good god I hope it doesn’t come to this.

-Punctuate stretches of madness (I mean, revising) with something you like: writing a new manuscript, typing on typewriter, showering cat with love and affection, rolling in mud.

-Try writing a short pitch for the manuscript under revision, and use it as a guide to keep the story on track and interesting.

The hardest part is not getting ahead of myself. I want so badly for it to already be done–to start writing queries (I know, I know, things are bad when you look forward to writing a query) and pitching it and sending it off to critique partners and all that other stuff that makes me feel good about myself instead of this… whatever it is. Madness, or something. Or, wait, is that just another word for “author”?

I take it back. The hardest part is remembering that it will be awesome afterwards. That even if this draft’s not perfect, it’ll be closer to perfect than it was before; I’ll finally get to fix all those things I skipped over in the first draft because I thought (and rightfully so), first draft, don’t care, don’t care as long as I finish it.

And so, I feel like this post needs to end with a picture of Buzz Lightyear. Because he is optimistic to a fault and kind of cute.


  1. Ruth says:

    Printing it out is (I think) absolutely the right way to go. Not only does it, as you note, alleviate that “change this NOW” impulse, it allows you to see the original and the possible revision at the same time. And writing with a pen in your hand uses a different part of your brain than typing does and so opens up access to thoughts you would never reach sitting in front of a screen.

    May I suggest not limiting yourself to one colour pen? I self-edit with three or four. Usually it’s just easier to keep my notes separate when they’re different colours; sometimes I sort of colour-code (passages to move in blue; word-changes in red; phrase re-writes in green; new paragraphs in violet — that kind of thing). Besides, I like all the pretty colours. They make all those errors look like cheery progress.


    • Kiersi says:

      I’m just going to borrow your cheery outlook on everything and adapt it as if it were my own. You OK with that? 😀

      On my way to pick up the printed thing at Kinko’s now. And buy some freakin’ pens!

  2. I prefer print-outs when I revise, too. Not so much a fan of coloured pens, cos I like the inky feel of a 2B pencil. Just so you wouldn’t feel alone, I have major revisions to do for my MG novel, too. Beginning tomorrow. Keep going, Kiersi! (Buzz cracks me up with his determined optimism.)

  3. M. Ziegler says:

    I hope you don’t mind but i referenced your post in my Fun Fact Friday post. 🙂

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