Can you guess what I’ve been up to?
Polishing your work is a mentally time consuming project, but also interesting and most definitely worth it.
I’ve said in posts before that the technical side of editing, aside from the basics–like putting a period at the end of a sentence and proper spelling, is not my cup of tea. (Bless great editors everywhere!) However, as much as I may grumble about it, trying to make sure the commas are in the right place is part of the “fun” of editing. Going through the pages and sorting out the good parts from the bad or not-so-great ones, and deciding on what to keep and what to throw out can really do wonders. I don’t consider the former to be one of the “technical” aspects, as it seems to have more to do with creative analysis of the work, but it’s also a part of the refining process.
I’ve started consulting The Elements of Style more and more, and one thing I appreciate about the book is that it acknowledges the fact that some of the “rules” are absurd and arbitrary–but they are still the rules. Once I’ve done what I can to edit the work, creatively and technically, it’s nice to know that I can turn it over to a more-than-competent copy editor to get the (hopefully few!) commas and semi-colons, and other technical do-dats that I missed. Whether I enjoy that aspect or not, part of being a professional writer means getting the little things right, as much as I possibly can.
For some, sitting in front of the computer and writing/editing is not considered productive; I know–almost every week I have a conversation with someone or another telling me that writing is not a real job. But anyone that knows, knows better.
Whether you are writing for a company or writing short stories, screenplays, novels, or all of the above, writing is work. If you love it (which you should if you want to be a writer) and you’re good at it (again, which you probably should be–or at least practice enough to expand your talent), then it’s satisfying and it can be easier than some other types of jobs–but it is still work. And someday (hopefully) all that work pays off.
Nancy O. Greene