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Falling In Love With What You Do

All of us do things every day we don’t enjoy. I like some things about living in the country. There are also days when I covet a high-rise in San Francisco with not a spot of yard or chickens to lock up at night. No pens to clean out (which is definitely my least favorite job).

It’s like that with writing, too. Editing seems to get me down sometimes, until I turn the corner, and then fall in love with my story again, after I’ve eviscerated it. I don’t want this lovely piece to become Frankenfiction, after all. But my second and third drafts can look kinda like that. Until I buff out the seams. Hopefully.

So the key for me is the falling in love part. And, as a romance novelist, why wouldn’t it be? It came to me in a blinding flash of the obvious last night as I listened to my friend. When we are passionate about our work, we excel. When we trudge through it, not so inspired.

So maybe I need to clean up my relationship with editing. Make my amends, and decide to fall in love with it. I know lots of sane writers who do. They love it even more than getting down the new words. Diana Gabaldon says it’s “polishing, finding all the jewels in the story.” She says she gets excited when she edits.

In my sales career, there were parts of the business I wouldn’t trade for anything. There were also some pretty dark times. What gave me great success and serious fortune was that I loved solving problems, putting people’s minds at ease. “Always be the calming one in the transaction,” a good friend taught me.

It even worked with raising kids and getting along with my husband.

So back to my edits. Another trainer of mine said, “people need you, and if you don’t do your job, they have to suffer with using someone else.”

There are millions of great writers out there. I will never get to meet or read them all. But even if there are a handful of people who want to read my books, by George, I’m going to make sure I do my part.
I’m going to write the best book, edit the best book I can.

And that means falling in love with the process of writing, as much as the words. What about you?

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. It helps if there's someone else to help. I enjoy editing, finding the right words, and turns of phrase. Mark Twain said "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." I love discovering lightening. That being said, editing isn't easy. I have a very dear friend to whom I send my first draft. I've already done a lot of self-editing by then. She's very good and finding the spots where I stayed too much in my head. Knowing she's reading it while it's still rough, pushes me to make it the best I'm able. It's also a comfort to know I don't have to be perfect, because she'll give me a lot of great ideas.

  2. You are so right, Judy. I love that quote from Mark Twain, and will have to remember to use it. Finding that right word is like finding the perfect house, the right man, the perfect vacation spot. It lights up your life.

    Thanks for stopping by and come back again!!

  3. I love it mom! I do the same thing with teaching – I love generating these cool ideas and getting them on paper, but when it comes to realistically planning my lessons I get cranky and avoid it at all costs. Eventually though, I have to put my nose to the grindstone and do it. It makes my classroom teaching much better and makes those stellar lesson plans awesome in the eyes of my students and my peers. It's dirty work, but I love teaching too much to avoid it.

  4. Jaime, I know you're the kind of teacher you wish you had when you were in school. Almost makes me want to go back and do it all over again. If I had a teacher as inspiring as you, well, who knows where I'd be. What I like best is that you truly love your work. It shows all over your face (so kewl to see you on the screen) and in your words. They are lucky to have you…

    James – It has been too long. Looks like you'll be romancing those pages and your 2nd book will be just as compelling as the first one. Can't wait.

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