Writing is Fun, but Editing is Work

Yes, you actually have to read that disaster you wrote.

Zach J. Payne
4 min readFeb 10, 2019

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There are some parts of writing that I absolutely love.

Like the writing part, for instance. When you’re sitting down in front of the computer, eyes closed and hands flying over the keys, weaving stories out of nothing except the little electric currents in your brain, it’s amazing. Life is flying out of your fingers. There is nothing quite like it.

I’ve even come to love the plotting part, too. As the #2 Ninja Writer (literally, the second person to join the FaceBook group, that’s almost 17,000 strong now), I’ve had the privilege of watching Shaunta develop all of her classes — The Plotting Workshop, A Novel Idea, and, now, Anti-Blogging for Creatives. I’ve also had the ability to try them out. And, as much as I sometimes feel like a pantser, I have to admit: plotting works.

(My happy place is to start writing a Zero Draft, so I can start hearing the characters and fleshing out their world. And, once I’ve written somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 words, it makes sense to go back and plot, with a solid idea of who the characters are, and where I want them to go.)

With both writing and plotting, your brain is running free. You’re correcting. You’re making new words!

Editing is a different beast.

If writing and plotting are like playing a song, editing is like tuning a guitar. (Okay, except that you edit after you write, not before. Don’t dig too much into this metaphor.) Except that guitar has 80,000 strings that all need to be perfectly pitched.

That’s gonna take a while. Even with a good guide, editing is a bitch.

As I’ve said before, I’ve been using Self Editing for Fiction Writers. It is a deceptively slim volume, but it’s packed full of great information and exercises. The little cartoons are funny, too.

The book, along with Shaunta’s guidance, gave me a solid place to get started.

I already have a pretty good grasp on the first chapter’s material, which is all about exposition versus narrative. Basically, asking whether we’re told about how your story plays out, or if we’re watching it play out…

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