Editing Woes

God help me, editing can be a painful process. Editing a lengthily, complex book (that has been edited several times already) can make you want to stab yourself in face with a soldering iron.chri.png

Characters who were removed on the third round of edits might poke their little heads out to fu@# your day in the eighth. You may come to find the escape route you so meticulously mapped out for your characters eleven months ago is as plausible as Trump getting into the White House. (WAIT A MINUTE–you mean that actually happened??) The groundwork for plotlines you thought of while working in later chapters must now be staged from the BLOODY beginning. Editing a book has become a task of flipping between pages to make sure that everything connects in a cohesive, well written (or even vaguely entertaining) story.

And, sometimes you open the file for Chapter 24 to find that every word is garbage. Did you actually write this, or did a small child with weak wrists hack into your computer and delete your glorious, errorless prose to replace them with this complete and utter trash?

Sometimes it seems like there is no hope.kuyc

Sometimes you might show your work to someone you respect. Sometimes they tell you it’s okay to give up and start something new.

And now you have permission.

Now you may give up.

Let’s face it, kids. This is the hard part.

It’s important to remember that nothing worth doing is ever easy. And, because I am not-so-secretly actually talking about me, today I am reminding MYSELF that the only way a book gets written is word by word. 1f89qlStephen King puts his pants on one leg at a time. The sun always shines after the rain.  A diamond only forms with a lot of pressure. Yahda, yahda, yahda.

If you think you have found the book you truly want to write, the godforsaken TANGLE of yarn you want to weave into a story, be prepared to fight for it. And then, be prepared to find out that the only person you really have to fight for it is yourself: the side of yourself that is scared of a lot of effort . . . and the overwhelming possibility of failure.


Shut up, Batman.

It’s okay to take a break to write a blog (like this one), apply for a grant, read a book, attend a conference, and mess around on Twitter. They’re great ways to give your mind a rest. The human brain is an organ that often works like a muscle . . . right?

It needs rest days.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

So, (maybe) today I’m doing myself a favor. I’m taking a little time to recalibrate. After I come home from work and the kids are in bed, I may even drink.



Not that that’s a solution. But it makes me feel better. And tomorrow I’ll start writing again, one sentence at a time. ‘Cause love it or lump it, THIS is the stupid, complex, lengthily book I want to write.



42 thoughts on “Editing Woes

  1. Well look who I found in my Reader! Good to read you again Jenny and as it’s close to the season of goodwill lets not beat each other up about how our books are coming along … see you in print in 2017! Cheers Eric.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Sorry you’re still in the slog part. When all the foreshadows have been fixed and your necessary bits from your cut scenes tucked in somewhere–well, most of them, because you’ll keep finding that stuff forever–then you can play. A more vivid verb here, a beautiful bit of alliteration there, the time for attention to rhythm–you’ve hammered it’s structure into shape and now you can give it the perfect patina. Like you already did to your blog site.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry your still in the slog part. So many details to remember: foreshadows needed; bits from cut scenes that need a place somewhere; descriptions that need to be shifted forward because the damn guy shows up earlier than he used to. Each time, you’re fixing smaller problems until finally you get to the fun of finding the more vivid verb, cutting the “all”s (remember?) and “then”s, lifting the level of alliteration that was lying there unintended. Finally, fun over, you reach the point of proofreading, which I hate. Presto! Publish time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Casey,
      I am REALLY looking forward to featuring “Touch” on Scribbles next week. I have recently been looking through a few of your old critiques of Old Souls, and remembering when we used to talk more often. It has been a pleasure watching your book move out of the editing phase and into publication.
      Great to see you back in action!


    • Clearly, that’s where I went wrong.
      You know, that’s the way I used to think about kids. The plan USED to be adopting an eleven year old when I was 34. Most of the work would already be done! Now I am 35 with three hellions–who are most certainly NOT adopted and have inherited all of my wicked ways, Hahaha.
      Life sometimes has other plans. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be editing your stupid, complex, lengthly book, too. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Congrats on your 3 heathens. I have two. The only place they can get along and play is in church. They too have inherited my ways. Dang genetics. Good luck with the editing and you’re right. Who knows… I may be editing a stupid long book of my own one day!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Or “there is a crack , there is a crack,That’s where the light gets in.” One of Cohens best lines in my opinion. Keep on trucking, try to tap yourself physically on the shoulder for a job well done so far, and keep your feet on the combine pedal. You will reap what you sow as this book is your labour of love and part of your soul.. you have taken all the steps, prepared your soil, fertilized it with passion , planted your seeds with a wee bit of trepidation, showered it with blood sweat and tears, now you are doing a bit of weeding, ready for harvest. You are an incredible literary farmer. Xx Mom 00

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Editing a lengthily, complex book (that has been edited several times already) can make you want to stab yourself in the face with a soldering iron.”

    Hang in there! I hope the Holiday season will provide some necessary respite unless you are the one hosting all the get-togethers in which case, may the force be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes. I’ve been blogging steadily for a year now and the editing process…ugh. Anyway you’re funny and it’s fantastic that your mom comments on your blog too. My mother’s comments are often fraught with emotional triggers which make me want to edit my history but that’s a whole chapter. 😂 Thanks for the follow!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Editing Woes — J. A. Allen | Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

  8. I couldn’t imagine editing a whole BOOK. My blog posts sometimes do my head in, and they’re short !! Why did poor Fishy get dropped three times – and is it really a fish or named such for another reason entirely (my mind is going to all sorts of smelly possibilities…)
    Love your sense of humour. It keeps one sane I find. Thanks for the follow BTW 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tough going, writing and rewriting. The first draft is messy, sprawling, exciting. The next draft can be fun too, polishing the first text, making it zing. Then more polishing, then more … Good thing we love doing this stuff, isn’t it?
    Thanks so much for the follow and for introducing me to your great blog 🙂


  10. Pingback: Editing Woes | By the Mighty Mumford

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