WYy its importe nt to always edIt your work."

Yes, the title is a joke. Come on, now. 

Editing is often seen as the bane of a writer's life. If writing is the joy and the creativity, editing is somehow the dull counterpart that's more of a slog through a grammar book than any sort of artistic expression.  It's like firing a kiln when throwing a pot is finished. Or framing a painting? Anyone with the know-how can do it.

Wrong, of course. Yes, editing is in part about catching typos and mistakes and pointing out grammar use, and it is also, in part, about editing plot and character and pointing out that they had Christmas twice in a week or that a character walked out of a room, came back in, and came back in. It's easy for a writer to lose track when they're focusing on the big picture over several months of writing. 

But editing is more. If it were only a matter of grammar and punctuation, then anyone could do it if they knew the rules.Why is it not? Because it's a part of the creativity itself, and a writer should edit their own damn work. Want the analogy back? It's like drawing the outline and getting someone else to just 'fill in the colours.' That's not painting as it should be. 

Done, UK- and US-style.

When I edit I'm looking for style and phrasing and taking another chance to go over the whole thing and improve it. I like to - to tinker with the whole thing again. Take another shot. Once it's out there and you've sent it off, you can't take back what you said...


  1. Oh definitely!! I was speaking with a fellow writer today who seemed surprised when I said I edit my own work. And I was surprised she doesnt! I have to edit my own work, it's such a necessity. Right now I am working through my first novel and editing is so much work. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Someone else will look at it AFTER I have had my first stab at it.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I agree editing is hard but that I'd be surprised if a writer didn't do their own. Letting someone else see the unedited draft seems like letting them see a half finished piece - not ready yet for public eyes!

  3. Totally agree! I liken it to telling people the baby name you've picked out before the baby is born. Someone can come along, say something off about it and now your baby's name is ruined and you have to pick out something else!!!

    Great post!

  4. Thanks, randi! I still dread someone one day finding my very first book in all it's (edited? I thought it was back then...) glory...

  5. Hello dude. I dedicated several months of this year to editing, during which I cut 15,000 words from my thesis. It was a graft, but a pleasurable one. It's rare during the writing process (certainly in the academic sense) that you're able to perceive the whole - especially when chapters are 50+ pages at a time. It's all a part of the development curve and coming to understand your own work. Splendido.

  6. Keith, sorry for my late reply! I know you struggle and slog more conscientiously than most, and your output is polished for all that. Cutting down words is always a lot harder than putting them in.