The Joy of Editing. Wait… What?

My quest for poetry has led me to some interesting resources. One of them being a podcast from The New Yorker, where real, live poets read the works of other poets. Calligraphy pen writing on lined paperLive!

Care for a listen? Click here.

It’s a nice thing to have on while cooking dinner, let me tell you. Sort of like having a couple of good friends over to chat about life and beauty and love, while you chop peppers and onions.

The other day Billy Collins was over, and he mentioned something William Matthews said. I was so blown away by it, I backed it up three times so I could hear it again.

Then I wrote it down, because I’m sure Billy was getting tired of repeating it:

Revision is not cleaning up after the party. Revision is the party. –William Matthews

When I worked at a newspaper as an assistant editor, I’ll admit, it was sheer bliss to go over every article, fine tune each page, get the mock-up just so.

But edit my own stuff? Yeaah, not so much.

On the other hand, maybe all I need is a change of perspective.

Instead of beating myself up for grammatical errors, I should feel happy that I caught them. Rather than agonize over my word choice, or berate myself for a contrived plot, I should appreciate the process of growing as a writer.

Reason enough to throw a party, right?

Hmm. I need to give this matter more thought.

How about you? Do you enjoy editing, or is it something you dread?





15 thoughts on “The Joy of Editing. Wait… What?

    1. Too true! I can be a bit obsessive when it comes to that, usually editing an additional dozen or so times after I’ve published! Which brings up another good point — if I do it that often, I might as well enjoy it, right?!

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  1. I do hate editing. I think it’s safe to say that I am a stream of conscious type of a writer, so sometimes editing can trip me up. It makes it better in the end though. I think often, people stifle themselves when they try to reach perfection, but if you don’t try at all than the things you do can turn out poor. It’s finding that happy medium. Thankfully it’s just a hobby for me at the moment. 😉

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    1. I think that’s my problem, I’m too much a perfectionist (read: neurotic) to find the practice enjoyable. But maybe if I take a more Zen approach — be wholly in the moment — I can find pleasure in it? Hey, I’m willing to try anything! 🙂

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  2. I try to be minimal – otherwise I would edit most of it out of existence. I edit as I write, so that, hopefully, when it is finished, it is finished. Sometimes I fail, but that is ok, as it is all part of life. Things I have reread years later sometimes make me itch to change a word, but I try to resist unless absolutely necessary for my sanity. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haven’t you heard? Sanity is way overrated! 😜
      I’m the other way, I try NOT to edit as I write, otherwise I wind up agonizing over every word. I even turned off the proofing tools in Word so there’s less chance of me getting stopped by a misspelling.
      You see how hopeless I am? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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