Who’s afraid of the big bad editor

You write and write and write. Totally consumed by the story in your head, the characters that won’t stop talking or fighting with you. This goes on until you have carpal tunnel and your vision flickers like an old television set. You hit your word count but there’s still more to tell and you’re pretty sure half way through that you should have scrapped it, but you didn’t. You smash your finger down on the full stop, or you type The End, or maybe just Yada, yada, yada, this shit is done.

Maybe you jump up and down in something that resembles the chicken dance while proclaiming to your husband, child, the news man on TV that you have finally done it. You’ve finished the book. Then you pour yourself into bed because you’ve spent weeks subsisting on coffee and two hours of sleep.

If you’ve done this more than once then you know you’ve barely scratched the surface. You’ve put some shitty words down in a document and you can only hope that 33.3% recurring makes sense. Then because you’re an awesome person who has a social life even if it is only on the internet, you beg your friends to read it.

While they’re doing that you tremble in fear and anxiety over whether its good or not. You scoop more coffee into your mug and hope it won’t take them the entire month you gave them to get it done, because you’re dying here.

You get it back and you breathe a sigh of relief because even though there are still things to fix your friends (I mean beta readers) said it was good. More coffee and late nights ensue and you send it to your editor.

The moment you get it back you’re crushed. The editor has massacred your baby with red pen or in this day and age track changes. You cry… (Okay hands up if you cry).

I love this moment. The moment when you find out how shitty your story really is. I love seeing the hundreds or more comments on the side, and even better if there are a few smiley faces sprinkled through.

Maybe, its because I know I suck at grammar, or maybe its that I loved English class but there is nothing better than my editor telling me why my story sucks. When I see all those comments I don’t see an editor who thinks I’m a terrible writer. I don’t see my story getting torn apart. They are not criticizing me. All they are doing is giving me the tools to make my story great, and you know, when I started writing it that’s what I wanted or I would never have put my finger on the keyboard in the first place.

I know a lot of writers don’t feel this way. They doubt their writing and seeing editor’s comments makes it worse. They get emotional about parts they love that might not work. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone’s process is different, but if you feel like that maybe try stepping away from the work and eat some chocolate while you regain your balance, and remember your editor is your friend and they want your story to shine.


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