My twitter feed has been filled with proverbs lately, and today one of the writers on my feed told me this:
“Editing is like exercise – you hate every minute of it, but without it, your writing gets overweight” -https://twitter.com/braydenhirsch
Does this ring true for you?
I’m not an expert, but if I hated every minute of exercising, there’s no way I could keep it up. And if I hated editing, there’s no way I’d do that either.
When I grew up, everybody told me that exercise is good for you. Underlying that sentence was the feeling that stuff that was good for you by default was uncomfortable and dull. And the exercise I was forced to do pushed that point home (football, football, football and a bit of aerobics). By the time I turned fourteen, I no longer exercised at all.
When I started University, the collective guilt-trip of parents and doctors convinced me to get back on the exercise wagon. I dutifully signed up for a gym and went twice. Then I signed up for yoga and went once. It wasn’t working.
But then I met a guy who enjoyed exercise. He didn’t work out to stay in shape or look good, he worked out because it was fun. I had to try it. Three years later I get cranky if I don’t work out at least three times a week. What’s my secret? Doing the fun stuff. Different people like different stuff. I enjoy crossfit, powerlifting and body weight training. Maybe you’re one of those people who love running. I won’t judge. The important point is that if you’re doing it right, exercise is not an activity you “hate every minute of”, it’s fun.
Life is about enjoying yourself. If you can’t enjoy honing your writing, cutting your scenes up and gluing them back together, scrapping useless paragraphs and tightening sentences, then maybe you’re doing it wrong. Maybe you need to take a step back and figure out how to make the editing process interesting. And maybe you need to stop viewing it as a necessary evil, and start viewing it as polishing your work.