Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Learning to Edit

The process of writing fiction in the last year or so has been tremendously rewarding and exciting for me; I haven’t really questioned the process. It seems as if I’ve tapped into some pipeline where this stuff is flowing out and I don’t want to overthink it. If you’re an artist, or if you’ve ever been in a creative field, you know that if you get into a flow, too much conscious thought is a sure-fire way to fuck things up.

So I’ve finished seven short stories, starting each one as soon as I finished the last. As I write them, I do minor edits (changing sentence’s to flow better, cutting out redundant words, trying to keep pronouns from piling up, etc), but nothing major. I would periodically go back and reread them to see if they held up, and to me anyway, they do.

But I kept reading about how all first drafts suck and need to be rewritten and edited many times before they were polished enough to present to the world. The problem was, I didn’t understand what editing meant – it took some research before it started to click. Now I’m in a time-consuming phase where I’m going back over them word by word, and it’s both enlightening but also somewhat overwhelming.

I feel like a dummy.

Here’s where life experience comes in – I know this means I’m on the right track – because when you feel this way it’s proof that you’re learning. It means that I’m on the path to getting better at the craft. It’s a process I know I have to go through, or at least it seems necessary to me.

So now I’m a bit lost in the weeds, but I’m pretty confident the writing will be better for it. I’m stumbling towards greatness – whether I actually achieve or not is an unknown that’s probably not important.

All I know is that it’s exciting to be learning something new at the age of 62.

The show’s not over yet...