Hello, friends!  Welcome to March’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  If you’re a writer and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here to learn more about this amazing group!

This year, I was fortunate enough to spend Valentine’s Day with my one true love: writing.

Well, actually I spent Valentine’s Day (and many other recent days) reading and reviewing the notes from my editor.  I had to invent an elaborate color coding system to keep track of everything.  I marked changes I agreed with in blue, changes I disagreed with in orange, and changes that I had questions about in pink. Thank goodness I bought all those pens in pretty colors a few months ago!

Having my manuscript professionally edited has turned out to be a slower, more contemplative process than I expected.  My editor has given me a lot to think about.  It’s tough.  But I’m not going to dwell on that today, because if you’re a writer, you already know how tough every aspect of the writing process can be.

But I do want to share something about this process that I wasn’t expecting.  For those of you who feel anxious about turning your manuscript over to an editor, this might help alleviate some of your fears.  There were several sections of my manuscript that I was especially worried about.  I’d agonized over these sections for months and couldn’t find a way to make them any better.  To my surprise, my editor did not flag these sections as problems.

At our last meeting, I asked about this.  My editor read through a few of those sections again, shrugged, and told me I was worried about nothing.

Writing is still tough.  Editing is still tough.  But to have a professional look at my manuscript and tell me to stop worrying about this part or that part or those other things—what a huge relief!

Next time on Planet Pailly, we’ll compare a real scientist to a movie scientist.

28 responses »

  1. Professional edits ARE tough. I tend to do a read-through and then walk away for a few days until my personal resistance eases so I can come back with less ego and more of an eye for what’s best for the story. But it’s still a difficult necessity. I love my darlings and I hate to cull them.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Kate Rauner says:

      Personal resistance – so true. I’m glad I receive critiques and edits through the internet so, the first time I read them, I can pound the desk as much as I want without offending anyone. Because I need those comments! And, in a day or two, I’ll be able to use them.

      Liked by 3 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      My ego definitely got bruised during my first meeting with my editor, when we talked through the biggest and most important notes. I guess I did take a few days to cool off, but after that I’ve been pretty okay with the stuff she advised me to change.

      Like

  2. Kate Rauner says:

    Congrats! It’s hard to manage comments – mechanically as well as creatively. Color codes – good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That would be relieving. I’m glad you shared that. I have a few parts like that, areas my writer’s group constantly pinpoints. It’s hard to tell if it’s my voice (which I won’t change) or an issue (which I should).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emaginette says:

    Any feedback can be tough. I’m glad you’ve found someone that can bump up your work. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Like

  5. Loni Townsend says:

    Professional editors are definitely amazing, especially if you find the right one. I had exchanged emails with a few before choosing one for my previous book, and they had to, at a minimum, pass the “spell my name right” test. If they addressed their email to Lori, I knew they didn’t have the attention to detail I was looking for. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erika Beebe says:

    I think that’s wonderful validation from your editor. It usually takes me a couple of days to process comments and then I dust myself off and start again. You can do this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A good editor is only interested in making the story better, so we need to relax, trust them, and consider all suggested changes. I’ve been lucky with my publisher’s editor. All electronic though, so no colored pens!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Juneta says:

    What a great experience for you. I guess trusting ourselves is half the battle.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kristi says:

    Getting feedback from others not easy, but as you say, sometimes it can be affirming (I’ve not had any of my work professionally edited so far). As someone else mentioned in a comment, I tend to immediately respond with resistance to notes to the contrary, and I find it helps to take a day to let the other person’s thoughts sink in. Getting feedback is one of my least-favorite parts of writing, because I’m releasing what has been so close and private to me out into the public space (even if it’s only 1 person), but I know it’s vital on the path to finishing a story. (I use colored pens for things like that, and other aspects in my writing/revising too. Color-coding is such a time saver.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      I did get a little defensive during my first editing meeting. I couldn’t help it. But a few days later, I saw my editor was right. Fortunately we’d already planned to do a follow-up meeting, and I did a better job keeping my feelings under control that time. I imagine with time and experience, I’ll learn not to take this stuff so personally.

      Like

  10. Sarah Foster says:

    I would be so anxious about getting my work edited, but I think, like you, I would probably end up worrying about things that aren’t even a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      It is nice to have it settled, once and for all, that these supposed problems aren’t really problems. Of course now there are a bunch of other problems that I didn’t know about. But honestly, the new problems don’t seem as daunting to me as the old ones.

      Like

  11. Scott Levine says:

    Congrats! Yeah, it’s a tough spot to be in. I deal with professional editors a lot in my regular job, and, yeah, it’s tough sometimes…. a lot of the times… “Wow… i thought I wasn’t a *terrible* writer,” but… then the finished thing is amazing.

    You can do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Thanks, Scott! I am really glad I’m doing this. Some of the feedback was hard to take, but I got a lot of positive feedback to, which was nice. And in the end, the manuscript will be better. I’m sure of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Steve Morris says:

    For some reason I can’t get the like button to work. Consider this post liked!

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Thanks, friend! I’ve noticed a lot of WordPress like buttons aren’t working, both on my blog and elsewhere. Subscribe buttons are also causing problems. I’m not sure what’s wrong, but sometimes switching to a different browser helps.

      Like

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