Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quid Pro Quid

I am unsure how many authors, new and old, are asked to edit another person's work. These requests may annoy or stress us to the point where we feel like rejecting communication with the person or people asking. For others, the request may flatter, but we reject it anyway because, as is true for many writers, we do not have the time to devote to editing someone else's writing. We are too busy on our own project.

In between starting a new congregation of my faith in my hometown, marriage, diapers, and my own writing endeavors, I took on the challenge of editing a friend's full length novel. He did not ask, I volunteered. During the self-editing of Islands of Loar: Sundered I realized that I did not have a perspective removed enough from the work to do justice to the process.

Those of you who have taken the time to edit another person's work know what happened. On top of helping out a friend in a very meaningful way, I gained the perspective I needed to properly edit my own book. Though the work took a couple of months, I now feel refreshed and ready to delve back into self-editing.

I am not suggesting you take up a full time editing job, though I am considering doing so myself on top of writing. I am suggesting that you do it at least once for someone you can be honest with. That honesty part is important because if you hold back from constructive criticism, you hurt them instead of help.

If you have never done so before, perhaps the next time someone asks for help editing their work you will consider it. It may shift your perspective enough to get over that block or through the morass of your own writing.

In helping others you may just help yourself.

Happy editing!

1 comment:

  1. You're so right. Editing someone else's work does help with my own writing. I belong to a writers' workshop where that is what we do for each other and most of are honest, sometimes brutally so. Those "ouch" moments are part of being an author. Of course it's good it's online, I'd hate to commit murder and mayhem on a fellow author. lol