Quite recently I took the plunge and hired a freelance editor to “service” a 3000 word short story I had written, and I got it back the other day.
I had no doubts that there would be the usual grammar, spelling, and sentence structure concerns, but when I saw there was 57 edit points my stomach dropped and I broke out in a cold sweat. I quickly scanned through some of the issues and realized that the majority WEREN’T a misplaced comma or spelling error, there were serious writing concerns. I suspect my editor was concerned about my fragile male-ego and did their best to point out things they liked in my story, and for that I’m deeply grateful. Feeling like a talentless fool, I closed the file and tried to ignore the shame that I was feeling.
I didn’t return to it for two days. Instead, I went about my normal life, job, chores, relationships etc… but in the back of my mind the feelings of self-pity and worthlessness churned around and around.
Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and took a in-depth look at the concerns and suggestions that my editor made, and realized that they were correct. As much as I tried not too, I had “told, not shown”, switched tenses, and failed to set the scene properly before introducing conflict.
My embarrassment returned, I’m almost old enough to be my editors father and here I was making rookie mistakes, then I realized something, I AM a rookie. No one starts out being perfect at something, it takes time, patience, commitment, and a lot of work. I’m not going to get any better at writing unless I WRITE, and use all the resources available to me, such as the editing I paid this person to do.
There is a lesson that several people have shared, but I think I needed to experience before it became “real” to me. That writing is a progressive art and there is always something to learn and improve upon. While the act of writing is usually a solitary activity, we all have an array of people who influence/guide in our lives, and we need to use them. So I’m going to act upon the suggestions of my editor, someone whom I plan on employing again for future projects, and make my story the best I can make it.
Now please excuse me, I have writing to do…