Yes, I know how to spell – in fact, I won spelling bees growing up (betcha didn’t know that one)- but I couldn’t resist! 🙂 And we all know that editing is not just about spelling. Most writers don’t even worry too much about spelling in this day and age because of a lovely invention called spell-check. Anyway, I digress.
I’m going to share with you a quote from the amazing Erin Healy – one of the best editors in the business – and also an author. Now, Erin has been editing for many years. She knows her stuff. And in February, she came to speak to our one day conference in Colorado Springs. Her session was on – can you guess? – self-editing! She opened with the disclaimer that she had come to the conclusion that self-editing is impossible. (The conferees in the room erupted in laughter.) And then she went on with the class and taught us some very important and wonderful things.:) (I learned so much, I wanted to pick her brain for the next month!)
I shared that little disclaimer with you to get you to think. I’m not saying we shouldn’t self-edit and revise. I just want to put a little spin on our topic here.
Yes, we need to do our very best. Yes, we need to read Browne and King, Jim Bell’s book on the subject, (I highly recommend both,) and continuously study the craft. But the main point is to make it the very best it can be and then… hopefully and prayerfully, you’ll reach that stage of publication and… your editor will be the one to guide and advise. Don’t beat the dead horse. Yes, you can edit something to death. Please don’t do it to your manuscript. 🙂
As writers, a lot of the time, we get so stuck in the mud with editing that we forget to write. And the only way to truly get better at writing – is to write! The only way to truly find your voice – is to write! The only way to get to the point when you actually have a contract and your manuscript is in an editor’s hands – is to write!
The reason I’m sharing a post about self-editing in this manner is because of my own daughter, Kayla. She’s twelve. And she’s also going to be the youngest published novelist with our first suspense that comes out from B&H in March of 2011. I’ve learned SO MUCH from watching her write. I believe she has an advantage that a lot of us don’t. She just writes. (Yes, she has an unbelievable amount of natural talent – and that scares the snot out of me!) But she is not bogged down by a lot of “baggage” that most of us writers carry around. We’ve beat our dead horses. We’ve edited ourselves out of our voice. We’ve stopped writing in an effort to edit, edit, edit, edit, edit.
So, the point, my friends? Write.
Read the other posts here this month about editing and revisions. There’s a lot of valuable information here and we can ALL learn from each other.
But, please… PLEASE… PLEASE – don’t forget to write. And write some more. And then write some more. And then? You got it – write some more.
In fact, I’m not going to edit this post. Whatcha see is whatcha get. Why? Because I need to get back to writing. Kayla and I are on deadline – and she’s faster than me… ugh 🙂
PS – Want another tidbit of proof for this post? Our incredible editor, Karen Ball, has taught me so much already – but guess what I’ve seen in the edits so far? Kayla receives far less notes than I do. My theory? Kayla doesn’t beat her dead horse. Hmmm…
Just a thought.
Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, author, and musician with a quick wit and positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. She’s also the President of the Colorado Springs ACFW chapter. A popular speaker, she’s shared at more than 700 venues across the country. Kimberley and her family’s story have garnered national media attention for many years, but most recently her family was chosen for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, and Discovery Health channel’s Mystery ER which premiered in 2008. Her story, Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, is available now from Tyndale House Publishers. And be watching – Coming in March 2011 is the first book in a three-book series set in Alaska, written with daughter Kayla from B&H Publishers. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband of eighteen years and their two children in their truly “extreme” home.
Check out Kim’s Website to order her books!