“Good writing isn’t writing …it’s rewriting,” said James Mitchner, author of many books. Each of his thousand-page books he retyped and edited them as he did.editing

Hemingway said the same thing in a cruder way, “The first draft of anything is shit.”

We often have a feeling that we write great prose on the first draft. No. To be fair, I should change that to I think I write great literature on the first effort.

This is nonsense. Years of being in a strong critique group has told me that I’m often mixed up, that I leave holes in my writing, and that I need to be edited.

Editing deepens my writing, and makes it far better than it was.

edit 2Find yourself an editor. If you don’t like groups, meet with a writer friend every couple of weeks and share writing. Don’t read at the meeting. Take the other person’s work home and look it over. You’ll do a better job.

You need an editor before you can publish a book. There are good editors for hire and there are editors that are not so good. Ask other writers. You’ll find someone who’s good and doesn’t charge $100 an hour.

And you? Your secret of good editing?

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