Writers may encounter writer’s block, which occurs when an author cannot develop a new idea. While I occasionally encounter this issue, a bike ride provides the needed inspiration.
The problem I often encounter is editing block. This block occurs when I edit and find it too difficult to begin, or I do not want to continue. Sometimes the block occurs when I face a writing problem, and sometimes, I am not in the proper mindset. Yesterday, I realized that my character had made a huge decision, and I had not provided the motivation behind that decision. While I realized what was going on, readers are not telepathic. My frustration came out of the fact that I had not initially included this information.
I averted my frustration by editing something else for an hour and then added a paragraph. Today I reviewed this new paragraph and made a few changes.
When I am not in the mood to edit, I have learned the hard way not to force myself. My best approach is to relax for ten minutes and then try again. However, this solution contains a mental loophole because I often trick myself into an editing block so I can waste time. I am aware of this mental fight and try to recognize it. Sometimes, it takes a few restarts to get into the groove, and other times, I spend the evening watching television.
In analyzing this issue, I determined that the primary source of frustrations results from confronting a problem I alone created. It is difficult to face one’s limitations and failures.
As an example, in my third book, I wrote a great paragraph about technical achievement. My editor pointed out that this well-written section brings the exciting action to a painful standstill. The solution is obvious: delete or move the paragraph. My hesitation comes from the fact that I liked my original creation in the order that I wrote it. After a two-day distraction, I cut the paragraph. While a painful choice, I must admit that the book reads better. On a side note, a good outline would have identified this issue beforehand.
Editing blocks also occur when I come across an awful sentence or big mistake. I want to yell at myself, “You wrote this junk?” Looking into the mirror can be difficult, and big mistakes are always demotivating.
Are there any aids to help the editing process? There have been tremendous improvements in grammar, style, and spelling tools. Plus, there are excellent online examples, articles, help groups, and guides. Reading often also hones my skills.
Like any problem, the first step is recognition and then applying the solution. I am sure truck drivers have roads they dislike to travel, and teachers have subjects they wish to avoid. Editing is part of writing, and it improves with practice. Editing block is part of the process, and I now understand how to realize and overcome this limitation. Practice makes perfect, and this blog is an excellent example of a new document that requires editing.
Is blogging my editing therapy? Hmm. Something to think about.
You’re the best -Bill
November 11, 2020
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