I’m in the middle of editing my novel in progress. It’s called A CUP OF DUST. And I have to write the title in all caps because that’s how we roll in the writing biz.
I happen to love editing my own work (not so much other people’s work…it’s different). I mean love with little pink hearts and unicorn manes. Oh, and puppy snuggles. And chocolate. And…and…
Suffice to say, it’s one of my very favorite parts of my job.
The other day my buddy Nathan left this comment here on the blog.
I pondered this for a bit, trying to figure out how to explain my love. Then, after agonizing over it, I remembered….
Last week I took my kiddos to the library for a presentation on geodes (NOTE: if you have kids at home this summer, make sure you check out the programs at your local library…they are free and fabulous and a great way to keep kids learning throughout the summer).
The guy explained all about how geodes form and what they are made of (they are NOT rocks. He made sure we understood that). He’s a geologist and a self proclaimed geode hunter. He takes his heavy-duty backpack to dried up river beds and finds all the geodes he can carry. Why? Because he knows there’s something cool inside. He takes them home and then, in his words, “whomps them open” to find the quartz inside. Sometimes it’s just normal, other times he finds amethysts. He never knows until he “whomps” them.
He gave each of us a geode and whomped them for us.
The whomping geologist loves picking through geodes because he knows there will be something good inside. After each geode he whomped for a kid he said, “Oh, that’s a nice one”. Every. Single. Time.
Because he loves geodes.
It’s a lot like editing.
My first drafts are always what Anne Lamott would call…ahem…”poopy” (it’s a family show, so I’ll refrain from using her word). They are drab and full of ugly.
But I know that something good is under the surface. So I whomp my words and phrasing and plot. I whomp my characters, too. Instead of a big hammer, I use my purple pens.
I whomp and whomp and whomp until I find out what’s inside. Sometimes I get something that’s just a rock. Other times I find something that needs a good deal of polishing.
But then there are the moments when I find something truly spectacular. Something that gives my writing that sparkle.
Every time I crack open my editing I get excited. I know that it’s a hunt, a search. For treasure. Even when the work gets tedious (which it often does when I’m whomping punctuation), I’m looking for hidden treasure.
When I find that treasure, I say, “Oh, that’s a nice one”.
Every. Single. Time.
So, back to Nathan.
How did I learn to enjoy it? I decided to see it as an opportunity to find treasures in my work. There are days when I have to fake it. That’s okay.
On those days, I just keep whomping. Sooner or later, I find something that takes my breath away.
How about you? Do you enjoy editing? Or are you the kind of person who really loves cleaning…because that’s something I don’t understand. How do you press on to do a task you don’t enjoy?