Editing is Like Mulching–Plus 2 More Questions

(editing)

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Hey everyone, how’s your Monday going?

Personally, I’m sore and exhausted. We had a long, busy, hard-labor kind of weekend. Yet…I’m a happy camper because my yard is mulched–or at least the front yard is. And the garage is kinda sorta cleaned out (I just have a few last things to finish).

Neither of these projects were on my to-do list for Saturday, but sometimes life throws these kind of projects at you. The mulch came about because we have awesomely nice neighbors who ordered too much and gave us their leftovers. Yes!  And the unplanned garage reorg was because our huge shelf broke. No!

Both of these Saturday projects remind me of writing–editing specifically.

Here’s how.

You’re looking at a project, like I was Saturday. You’re feeling overwhelmed. You know it has to happen, but where do you start? What to fix first?

So you start digging through the junk, the dirt and mud. You pull out the weeds, the old boxes, and start chucking anything that isn’t growing or working anymore. In editing, this is the most painful part for me. I’m a word hoarder. I should probably go to therapy for this, I know, because I can’t bear to let my words go. But I have to get rid of the stuff dragging my manuscript down to get it to the next level. 

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I ripped out a bunch of other plants and weeds, and left these beauties behind. Funny, I could barely see them before.
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Once the big stuff is done and cleaned, you get to the next layer of putting things back into place: moving plants, sorting bikes. That kind of stuff.

In editing, this one can sometimes throw me off because there’s always the ripple effect when you move a scene, but I’m rarely disappointed. In yard work, sometimes a plant isn’t working simply because it’s in the wrong place in the garden. In the garage, sometimes things aren’t functional shoved behind four pieces of plywood. Find a more useful spot. The same thing goes for scenes. A simple move and suddenly a previously off scene shines.

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We thankfully saw the shelf when it was still sagging. My car could not have survived if it and all the junk collapsed on it.

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With things cleaned up and in the right spot, then comes the pretty. The finishing touches. Mulch in the case of my garden, finally organizing touches in the garage. In editing, the finishing touches involve the words themselves. Don’t just say something, shout it! Don’t just eat a donut, devour it. This by far is my favorite part of the writing process. I can spend days, weeks, or years even tweaking to get things just right. 

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Digging, rearranging, and mulching has completely changed my front flower bed. I love it.
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So that’s my two cents on editing. I won’t be walking anytime soon, but hey, now I have time to edit.
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It’s worth the effort. It’s worth the effort. It’s worth the effort!

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.This post goes right along with the last two questions I have for all you writing nuts out there.

#9) Editing is like __________ (fill in the blank–no cursing please :) And mulching or cleaning the garage are already taken.)

#10) I write because ___________

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PS: If you’re wondering what these questions are, I’m working on my 100th post that will feature yours and my favorite things about writing. In case you haven’t answered them yet, the other 8 questions are:

#1) Favorite writing tips?

#2) Most overused (annoying) words in writing or reading?

#3) Favorite website/blog for writing advice?

#4) Favorite authors?

#5) Favorite books on the craft of writing?

#6) Coolest author (or other public person) website?

#7) Most useful editing tips?

#8) Best part of writing?

Make sure to add your ideas to those who have already answered. The more the merrier. The 100th post will be Wednesday, barring no other foreseen Belliston catastrophes (knock on wood).

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Author: Rebecca Belliston @rlbelliston

Hopeless romantic and author of CITIZENS OF LOGAN POND, SADIE and AUGUSTINA. Music nerd and composer of RELIGIOUS and CLASSICAL-STYLE music. I live in Michigan with my husband and five kids.

8 thoughts on “Editing is Like Mulching–Plus 2 More Questions”

  1. Your garden looks beautiful! I have SOOO far to go to get my yard presentable (but slowly, slowly, slowly, it is getting there). Editing is like finding Waldo–it takes a lot of time and work and casting ‘unnecessaries’ from your mind to refocus on what it is you really want. I write to release the stories inside me and make sense of my world.

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    1. Thanks! It takes so much work and last year I didn’t do hardly any. Ugh. Love the analogy. Editing is like finding Waldo. Very cool. Love your thoughts on writing as well. Thanks!

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  2. Editing is like the end of Sophie’s Choice. Or like beating my head against a wall and expecting the wall to cave.

    I write because, without an outlet, the voices in my head would take over. Or I could be less creepy and say I write because I want to make the world better, one story at a time.

    Congrats on the gardening! And thank you for reminding me that I need to tend to my herbs. :-)

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