I have just created a plan for editing my novel. It feels surreal, to have this thing printed and sitting in a binder, alive only as an explosive memory of what I felt I needed to say a couple of months ago. As I was writing the first draft, I remember thinking, “This is the hard part. This, the getting it down on paper and sucking it from inside of you, this is the challenge. The first step is always the hardest.”
I was lying to myself, unfortunately. The editing is going to be harder than the initial birth. It’s like I’ve got this child that I am currently seeing through rose-colored lenses, a perfect baby swaddled in a blanket, yet to be unwrapped and burned by the bright sun. But I know I need to show the baby the sky and start telling it that there are a lot of things wrong with it, and the world of a pen is not a kind one — but it is a worthy one.
A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to get my red pen to the page. Now I am scared. I intended to attack this novel with zeal as soon as January 1 rolled around. Now I don’t know where to begin.
Is this normal? Is it normal to not know where to start with editing, when the logical place is page 1?
I am good at listening to edits and taking criticism of my work; I did go to college, after all. Plus, I have worked in a newsroom and written for money before. So yes, edits are not unfamiliar enemies. But what is strange is editing something that feels like it is part of me. All of my stories are, but this one is something more.
Something that might cause me to bleed if I can’t get it right.
Anyway, I sat down tonight and figured out a plan, but I am still scared to carry it out. The pages aren’t bloody yet, and I like their crisp whiteness. But let’s be real. Nothing in life is black and white. These chapters need some color.
And so I begin the editing of my first novel.
Not a bad way to open 2016.
But certainly not an easy way.