Friday, December 12, 2008

Of Editing and Dentists

"Editing is like going to the dentist. It can be painful. Sometimes you just want to avoid it. But, in the end, you're glad you got the work done."

I have spent too many hours of my life in a dentist's chair. I often say my husband's marriage vows should have been altered to read, "To love, honor, cherish, and pay my dental bills ..."

I am a dental disaster waiting to happen. A casual trip to my dentist, Dr. C., usually involves an "Uh-oh, this doesn't look good" comment. I know it's time for me to open wide for a really long time so he can go to work.

As much as I trust Dr. C., I hate dental procedures. I don't like cleanings. I don't like fillings. I don't like x-rays. I don't like root canals (too many to count.) And I do not like the uncomfortableness of reclining in the chair, mouth open wide, trying not to drool on myself or Dr. C.

A lot of writers feel the same way about editing: They don't like it. It's painful. It's something to be avoided. Who knows? There may be some of you out there who'd rather go to the dentist than edit your article or WIP.

But, remember what I wrote at the beginning of this blog post: " ... in the end, you're glad you got the work done."

You'll be glad you persevered and wrote and rewrote your article. You'll be thankful you found the passive verbs and the misspellings and the incomplete sentences and the rabbit trails. If you don't someone else will. If that someone else is an editor considering your article or book for publication, lousy writing could mean no sale.

If I avoid the dentist, am I avoiding my dental problems? Nope. They're still there. And they bother me.

If you avoid editing, you're not avoiding your writing weaknesses. They're still there--for everyone else to see.

Is that what you want?

You tell me.

Now, excuse me while I go make an appointment with Dr. C. I'm way-past due.

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