A picture is worth a thousand words. How appropriate this line is to me as I work to cut my childrens' picture book down to the prescribed 500-600 words. I know that along with the words, there will eventually be illustrations to tell the the story. A sage writing professor I had at McGill University once said that writing is recursive, words etched in my mind, often recalled and revisited like my own manuscripts. She impressed upon us how we need to take a break from our manuscript then revisit it with fresh eyes. Interesting how when we return to a written piece, editing happens seamlessly. It makes me think about the analogy to learning: learning is messy. So is writing. It doesn't happen linearly--we will veer off the path and come back to it. We learn as we blunder through the challenges of writing and editing to that final product.
Just as there is writer's block, I have learned that there is editor's block. We may be too close and perhaps hold too tightly to our manuscript to let go for the ultimate transformation from unpolished to polished. It struck me this morning while editing my manuscript for the gazillionth time that this exercise is a necessary one, and that I had to start out with over 1000 words to appreciate the writing-editing process and learn from it. So I leave it for a while. I take that walk or visit with a friend or do something with my family. Then I return with fresh eyes.
It's during these times that I appreciate the support of a wonderful writer's group--like-minded women who will take my manuscript to a place I may not be ready to go. Time to press "SEND" and post my work to our online group where I know the collectivity and objectivity will help me get my book to the next level. Looking through their eyes, I will then be able to step back into my manuscript and add the final touches for a finished product.
How is your writing-editing process? Do you find yourself laboring over a piece only to put it away then return, editing it with a vengeance that drives it to the next level? Do you get editor's block? Do you have mentors and support systems for feedback? Do you find writing linear or just plain messy? Is it worth it in the end?