For me, hearing that I’m about to take a drive with “The E Word” makes me excited. I’m literally rubbing my hands together, getting out my trusty red pen or clicking on ‘track changes’ in Word, cranking up the stereo or headphones, and going into ‘The Bubble’.
During my latest writing/first draft process, I found myself stopping every so often, getting out my red pen then editing what I’d just written. I soon learned that was a bad idea, and it took my best friend, Jennifer, to tell me the following: “If you keep stopping to edit every other day, you’re going to burn out. You need to keep your writing organic. Let. It. Flow.” (this isn’t an exact quote, but it’s how it soaked into my brain)
Huh….so I went home and took her advice. I always trust her advice because I know she wants what’s best for me and my writing. Sure, there are moments when I may think about what she tells me then go back to her with another idea for us to brainstorm instead, but she’s either always hitting the nail on the head, or she’s hitting mighty damn close to it (Which reminds me, I need to buy her a happy surprise!).
I banged out that first draft, quickly capturing the story and trapping it to the page. I didn’t even stop to let the left side of my brain take over and bleed out on the page with spelling and grammar mistakes, description issues, etc. Let’s just say my left brain was itchin’ to get out and wrap its hands around the pages every now and then.
What a difference that made! I finished my first draft not too long after receiving that piece of advise, and now my left brain is having a bit too much fun editing…..seriously!
I’ve found myself doing a mini booty dance at my desk when a scene comes together beautifully, arguing with myself (more accurately, with my characters) over cutting out a paragraph here or there, then…..something magical happens! My characters (right side of the brain) and “The E Word” (left side of the brain) no longer collide. They’re actually working together, finding places where additional details should be placed, spots where their unique characteristics can shine, and spaces for an additional scene or there.
Ex: Saturday, Jennifer brainstormed with me on some possible holes in the story and where there were could be some opportunities to highlight one or two of the characters even more. So, on Sunday, as the left side of my brain dove into chapter 14, it got halfway through then politely stepped aside, allowing the right side to add in an additional scene (1,000 more words). When the right side was done, I booty danced, then the left side took over again and bled, only a little, over the newly written scene before finishing the rest of the chapter.
To me, editing is what you make it. You either love it or hate it. Some writers have a love-hate relationship with it. It may just come down to how well you manage your right/left brain relationship: Is one more dominate than the other? Are they jealous of the other? Maybe right side doesn’t understand that the left side truly wants what’s best?
Bottom line here is: I love editing!! I love it even more now that my two halves, characters, and WIP are all happily coexisting in my little land of make-believe.
Here is a related post that I found after this blog idea came into my head earlier this week: ‘Can Editing Be Fun?' Maybe’ by Therese Walsh on Writer Unboxed. Perfection! Ms. Walsh said exactly what I’d pondered on while I was home from work on Monday, sick in the bed and jotting all of this down.
Now, I’d LOVE to know your thoughts on “The E Word”:
Is it something you love, hate, or have a love-hate relationship with? Do you find your characters at battle with the editor in the Left vs. Right War?