If you've heard me talk about my larger scale writing projects or even been around when the topic of writing comes up, there's a pretty good chance that you've heard me utter some form of the following words: I hate editing.
But the thing is that I truly do enjoy writing. So why then would something related to the process bother me so much?
I suppose you could say that it's a few things. First of all, editing is an entirely different beast than simply making a draft. Drafts, first drafts in particular, are made with reckless abandon. The process appeals to my track-skipping, bounce-around, scatterbrain, giving it the opportunity to go down avenues that straight-line, focused thinking wouldn't provide. A longstanding practice of mine when making drafts is to write until I get bored, then skip to the next thing that interests me in a given section or chapter. After all, it isn't really a big deal if a scene or two never gets covered.
Of course, the larger issue rears its head when it comes for editing. Those gaping holes in the story have to be addressed one way or another, leading to the obvious question of whether or not the idea was worth writing about in the first place.
And really, part of me wants no part of this process. No matter how flawed I may know my draft might be in reality, there's still the notion that most of it is pretty good work. The thought of having to go back and cut out huge swathes of words simply because they don't fit the greater vision is a tragedy I hate to face.
Likewise is the time taken reflecting on what needs to be added. There are the gaps in story that I may have skimmed over when writing a first draft, but there are also the extra parts. They are the ideas that came after I had already gone through that particular section, or things that crossed my mind as ideas after the fact. They are the characters that didn't seem important until later, or who weren't even concepts until the process hard started. They, too need their fleshing out and work done.
I realize that the work is a necessary evil. I understand that to reach - truly reach - the next level of my work, I have to get over this hurdle and build a solid second draft. And scarier still, most likely a third, possibly a fourth, and so on.
It's a daunting task, but it's one that I want to do. So in this regard, I set a simple goal, and make an honest pledge. I hereby declare that before the end of March (and the beginning of April and the inevitable chaos of Script Frenzy), I will complete a second draft of at least one long term project that I've worked on. It's the very least that I can do. Well, short of nothing. But I've done that for a while, and it doesn't sit well with me.