Fear of Editing Our Written Work

I’m not alone in being reluctant when it comes time to edit my writing. I hate eliminating my precious words; initially it feels like ‘word murder’ – all these precious words that I slaved over, about which I consulted my thesaurus, and ruminated.  And now, many of them have to go. It’s a head task, not a heart task.

These are the feelings – goofy as they can be.  Eventually, I do edit but some days I have to sit at the computer, reading the copy and chanting “be ruthless, be ruthless”.  My work certainly benefits from sharp editing, just like everyone else’s writing. Maybe I ought to look for an editor on Craig’s List under ‘word murderers’.

 I do know how important the editing process is and I have my methods.  I usually put the piece away for several days, at least.  Then, when I come back to it, two important things have changed:

  1. I see excess, over-crispness, vagueness, and carelessness, more clearly.
  2. I have a bit of distance and no longer see the phrases or ideas as tiny kittens to be protected; they go back to being words on a page that require my finger on the ‘delete’ key.
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