An Editing We Go...

I just realized I haven't blogged for a WEEK. *gasp!* In my defense, I've finally had enough brain cells intact to attempt editing. *another gasp!* I finished writing the first draft of my YA Urban Fantasy WIP Hidden last October of 2011. Then, as per the wonderful advice of my many writer friends, I left it to stew for a long time...well, 2 and 1/2 months to be exact. In the meantime, I did NaNoWriMo, found out I was pregnant (and named the bathroom my new hang-out place), spent the holidays with family, and read a lot of books (the published kind) from the library. I didn't have any inclination to write or even bother with the publishing biz. My Google searches became incredibly tame--instead of searching for monsters and mythology, or ways to kill off an immortal witch, I was looking for baby names and old wives' tales of how to determine the gender of your baby before you get that oh-so-exciting ultrasound picture.

I was in full mommy mode, and the writer in me was taking a back seat...temporarily.

But then, prompted by a friend's ms swapping (Thank you, lovely!), I was forced (in a good way) to finally open my Word doc and read Hidden in its entirety for the first time since I finished it.

I read, and read, and read. And lo and behold, the all-too familiar tingling returned, and I knew I wanted to dive back into the writing world once more. Hence, the editing.

So here's what I found out: I SUCK at editing my own work. Really. I'm reading the ms with the intention to spot out errors, but I get suck into the story instead and I forget why I had a pen and a highlighter nearby.

The bottom line? We NEED crit partners. Let me say that again: We NEED crit partners. Beta readers. Whatever you want to call them. We need help. We are NOT superhero writers, even if we write about superheroes all the time. Our first (and even second, and third, and possibly fourth) draft will stink. There's no way around it.

Don't feel lame for asking help. And, don't be afraid to see those red marks when the feedback gets back to you. It's okay to cringe and bang your head on the desk a few times from embarrassment, but don't let it stop you. Mistakes and acknowledging them help us improve. Grow. Become the best that we can be. For we're all capable of great things, we all have potential. The key is learning how to reach that potential.

So, here's to editing and to our wonderful critique partners! *huzzah!*

P.S. Btw, sorry if I haven't visited your lovely blogs. I tried, I really did. But for some reason, Blogger won't let me leave comments or open up blog pages, no matter how many times I try to refresh them. Hopefully, it'll get sorted out soon. ;)


Krista M said...

That is very true! Critique partners are very important and I admit that I'm terrible at editing my own work too. A second opinion is always helpful. :)

Mrs. Silverstein said...

So, maybe you can demystify something for n00bs like me--where is everyone finding these ah-mah-zing betas and crit partners? I'm not at the stage of needing one yet, but I think it would be interesting to BE one--I still need to learn a lot about process, but I think I'm an astute reader. How did you meet yours? Do you have a sense if that's the typical process?

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I'm terrible at editing my own stuff as well. The story is so fun to read I forget that it is littered with errors (and it is ;)

Miranda Hardy said...

I need my editor. He slaps it around a few times, that's for sure.

cherie said...

@Krista M: Hear, hear!

@Mrs. Silverstein: they're friends I've known for a long time, and as I'm familiar with their work, it was easy to know if they were good fits. There are sites you can join to converse with other writers and see if someone writes in your genre. For instance, Agent Query Connect, where most of my writer friends hang out. I've been too busy to visit there often, but in my earlier writing days, I was there all the time--learning the craft from authors who've been pubbed, agented, or even those who are like me: unagented, unpubbed writers. There are forums where people can help you with your query letter, too. Another site I would recommend is Query Tracker. Same concept.

Some are friends I met through blogging and Twitter. I know there are specific websites aimed at helping you find a crit partner, but I personally prefer letting people I've known and trusted to read my work so I don't have to worry about trust issues.

@Shelly: I know, right? Much more fun to be reading than editing!! :)

@Miranda: Lucky you! I don't think I can afford an editor so I have to rely on the talents of my crit partners! :)

Angela V. Cook said...

Love this post! I agree--a good critique partner is worth their weight in gold! I will be FOREVER greatful for the feedback you gave me on my first chapter--it not only helped me with that chapter, but with the rest of my ms too!

Let me know if you ever need a second set of eyes to look over something; I'm always willing to help :o)

Sarah said...

I've had the same problem with Blogger recently, Cherie. It seems better this week than last week, though. And: huzzah! for getting back to work on your WIP! I agree with you wholeheartedly that CPs/agents/etc. are essential in the editing/revising process, and I'm endlessly grateful for mine. Good luck with your editing!

The Golden Eagle said...

I had the same technical problem visiting blogs, too. I wonder if it's the new comment system, since for me the ones with embedded comments didn't work but the ones with comments on a separate page did.

I've run into this problem, too. I want to work on plot and characters, not the nitty-gritty. :P

LisaAnn said...

Welcome back! And although I definitely agree with you about crit partners, the fact that you're getting sucked into your own story is DEFINITELY a good thing. :)

Connie Keller said...

I hope the nausea has left you. That's one of the nastiest parts of pregnancy. If not, trying sucking ice chips or popsicles. Popsicles and ice chips kept me out of the hospital for dehydration while I was pregnant.

I hope your editing goes well!!

Jessie Humphries said...

Oh Congrats...and condolences! My first trimesters sucketh. Glad ur back.

Kate Evangelista said...

Happy editing! And yes, critique partners are a lifeline. Also, no worries. You'll get the hang of editing soon enough. It's a whole different hat than writing, but it's an awesome hat to wear when the writing is done. :-)

Bethany C. said...

Squee!! Hello, lovely! You're right--it's a scary business sharing your work, but it's essential--we become better writers with feedback.


Kittie Howard said...

So very true. My critique partner is like my right hand. And sorry I haven't been by sooner, but Blogger gave me a bit of a longer fit. Seems to have settled down now. Hope you have a great week.

Kristin Baker Przybyla said...

You're so right! My beta readers have caught so much that would have totally slipped by me. They're invaluable!

Sarah Pearson said...

Okay, it makes editing difficult, but isn't a wonderful feeling to get lost in your own words?

Simon Kewin said...

I do agree: it's just incredible what you miss when you edit your own work. Setting it aside for a time helps, sure, but beta readers are just invaluable.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Crit partners are a huge blessing. I too suck when it comes to editing my own work. Hope you are taking care of yourself.

A.M.Supinger said...

Crit partners rock ;)

Shallee said...

AMEN to needing crit partners! I don't know what I'd do without them.
Breaks are also great to help with editing.

And congrats on being pregnant! It's hard to focus on anything else, especially in the first trimester. I just got over the first trimester, too, and hopefully I've got my mind back for good. At least for a while. :)

I hope the pregnancy goes well-- and the writing does too!

cherie said...

@Angela: Yay! I'm glad it was helpful. And yeah, I might take you up on that offer as soon as I finish my second round of edits. Thanks and love yah! <3

@Sarah: Thanks! Yep, Blogger's been giving me a real headache.

@Golden Eagle: Oh, you know what? I think you're right. I can comment on those with separate comment pages, but not with the embedded ones. Gotcha.

@Lisa: Yes! I hope it's a good thing ;)

@Connie: Thanks! A pregnant friend just gave me a jar of pregnancy sour candies the other day. She said it's supposed to help with the nausea. I've been eating a lot of popsicles, for sure. My morning sickness usually lasts until the end of the 4th month, so I'm almost there. ;)

@Jessie: Thanks, luv!

@Kate: Spoken like a true editor. ;)

@Bethany: Squee indeed! Love yah mucho, my beautiful Shakira goat!

@Kittie: You're so sweet! Yeah, Blogger's been a pain in the neck for me too.

@Kristin: Hear, hear!

@Sarah: Yep, it does. Although, I get scared that maybe I was just being narcissistic? LOLOLOL!

@Simon: Setting it aside does help. It felt new to me after letting it stew for a while. Thanks for stopping by!

@Rachna: Thanks, my friend. Hearing that come from you, I feel a ton better. :)

@A.M.: YOU rock!

@Shallee: Oh my gosh! CONGRATS!! And I wish you a healthy and smooth pregnancy too, my dear!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the impending mommyhood. Love that place in life. Also, yay for you in finding your editing inspiration. It's always great to have betas and critters who can help us see the things we know, but don't write clearly.

Best luck with all the changes!

Angie Sandro said...

Yay! Congrats on the little one. He/she is so lucky to have you for a mommy. I hope you feel better soon. Good luck with the edits. You're an amazing writer so can understand how you can get lost in your own words.

Cheryl said...

Congrats on the new baby coming! And you're so right about editing. Every time I read one of my mss after setting it aside for a while, I see stuff that needs changing.

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