My title comes from Chuck Wendig's latest post. He writes:
Let’s get something out of the way:This--his way of drilling down to the core of relevant writing issues--is one reason I've been increasingly eager to read Chuck Wendig's posts.
Editing is writing.
Believe it or not, there is some disagreement about the point. Some reasonable, smart, experienced, articulate writers would insist that, to the contrary, editing is most emphatically NOT writing.
The Problem With Saying Editing Is Not Writing
For me, here's the problem with denying that editing is writing: I'm a writer, but I spend most of my time editing because I write fast drafts.
Here's how I write a first draft: for two or three (glorious!) weeks I'll say goodbye to the collective illusion we call the real world and climb through a rabbit hole--or slink into a closet, or creep inside (what looks like) a phone booth, or ...--into a world it's up to me to create.
This is the part of writing I can't wait to get to. Writing a fast draft helps me stretch my creative muscles in a way I rarely get to otherwise. Of course, by the end, I can't wait to get to the editing!
The upshot is that I spend the overwhelming majority of my time editing that first draft (and editing, and editing, and ...).
Yes, I insert new scenes here and there, and I cut others, but I think of that as editing not writing. I can't say, "I'll write at least 1,000 words today" because I write as much as I need to and it varies day to day.
But perhaps that's wrong. Perhaps editing is writing and writing is editing.
Chuck Wending writes:
At the end of the day, the actual execution of your editing process is writing. It’s you doing surgery and excising all the unsightly tumors from your work and filling in the gurgling wounds with better material: healthy flesh, new organs ... Sometimes it’s as simple as killing commas and adding periods. Other times it’s as complicated as dynamiting the blubbery beached whale that is your entire third act, picking up all the viscera, and filling in the hole with clean, pristine sand. Sometimes it’s a leeeetle-teeny-toonsy bit of writing. Sometimes it’s a thousand rust-pitted cauldrons of writing.I would encourage you to read the rest of Chuck Wendig's article, though I should note it contains mature language.
Writing is editing. Editing is writing.
Writing is rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting.
By the way, all quotations are from Chuck Wendig's post February 26, 2013 post unless otherwise noted.
What do you think? Is editing writing?
Other articles you might like:- Looking At Plot: Urban Myths And What They Teach Us
- Write A Novel In A Year, Chuck Wendig's Plan: The Big 350
- The Importance Of Finding Your Own Voice
Photo credit: "la nebbia di settembre" by francesco sgroi under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.