30 Realistic Facts About Editing

Editing is tough. There are some strange writers out there who like it. For the rest of us, here is a collection of realistic facts about the process we all love to hate.

30 Realistic Facts About Editing

1.It lasts forever. This is not an exaggeration. You could edit until the end of your life if you don’t just let go at some point.

Realistic facts about editing - staring at your work2. You hate your first draft self who wrote with wild abandon. Your first draft self is an irresponsible git.

3. Typos multiply like rabbits. They actually breed with each other overnight. New typos, even on pages you’ve already checked, are born every day.

4. Your own editing will not be as good as that of a professional editor unless the editor is shockingly bad. You need a fresh set of eyes.

5. Spell check in Word is a liar.

6. Editing programmes such as ProWritingAid are a gift from the gods.

7. Editing programmes are not always right though. They really don’t like slang words.

8. You will do anything rather than edit. Never has so much ironing happened in our house. I detest ironing.

9. You will always find errors after editing when you’ve sent your writing off for a competition, to an agent or for publication.

Realistic facts about editing - writing vs editing10. Ex-teachers red pen everything. The power of the red pen should not be sniffed at. It also makes you cry when you see a lot of it on a page.

11. You forget how to write when you’re editing. Your imagination goes on holiday and you lose the ability to be creative.

12. You learn that your superior levels of grammar are actually primary school level.

13. You learn weird grammar rules you never knew existed.

14. You can spend a day researching whether or not to capitalise or hyphenate words.

15. Commas are deleted, reappear, are deleted, reappear…

16. You discover you’ve named most of your characters with the same initial letter.

17. You discover you’ve changed the name of a character halfway through the novel and wonder who the hell Walter is.

18. You realise you’ve named characters after people you know and fear being sued so have to rename them.

19. There will be plot holes so deep you’ll need caving equipment to make your way out.

Realistic facts about editing - meeting with editor20. Other writers who tell you that they love the editing process will no longer be your friends.

21. Everything your English teacher told you about checking your work when you didn’t will come back to haunt you.

22. All the grammar and punctuation rules your English teacher taught you will seem useful at last. Can you tell what my job used to be?

23. You will question whether your native language is the one of the country in which you were born and raised.

24. Whenever your partner asks what you’re doing you no longer need to reply. The slumping over your laptop and waving a white flag is information enough.

25. You wish the cat could read and write.

26. You become obsessed with certain words. Is it really spelt that way? Does it really work like that in a sentence?

Realistic facts about editing - spelling27. You need far more patience than you will ever have.

28. Editing is the place all writers go underground. We cannot communicate with the outside world when we’re in that deep, dark place.

29. After a day’s editing, you will not be able to word. Everything that comes out of your mouth is nonsense.

30. You will write blog posts about editing so you don’t have to edit, then tell yourself it’s acceptable because it’s editing-focused.

Over to You

What are your thoughts about editing? Editing lovers need not apply.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer and blogger. When not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, the cat, and the Husband. Not particularly in that order.

8 comments on “30 Realistic Facts About Editing

  1. I can totally relate to this. I love the freedom of writing but then I hate proofing my work. It makes me feel so insecure. I always wish I could write without having to check it through loads of times but that will never happen

  2. I haven’t got to the editing stage yet, but can still identify with a lot you’ve said. Is that a good thing when I’ve not even finished the first draft of my novel? Hmmm.

  3. I *shouldn’t* reply, because I actually don’t mind editing so much, but this is all so true. The typos! The hyphenation rules! The sudden discovery that you speak a hybrid of UK and US English and keep getting the terms for things muddled up…

    Also, I had to change some names because so many of them started with A.

  4. I’m an editor, so clearly there is something wrong with me because I enjoy editing. BUT I still question everything I know, every time. Every. Dang. Time. And I have been known to look up common words just to make sure they’re really words, because I’ve seen them so often that they no longer look legit.

    1. I wouldn’t mind editing other people’s work. I was even weird enough to like marking sometimes when I was a teacher. It’s editing your own work that you cannot escape that is hard.

      It’s encouraging to know that even an editor questions their editing skills. We all do it even if we’re great at it, which I’m sure you are.

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