Back when I interviewed David LaPoint, I asked him if being an editor gave him insight to being a better writer.
He replied, “not really.” Then he went on to say that he actually thought it made him a worse writer. That struck me as both interesting and disturbing.
Recently, I’ve heard editors lamenting that they wished they could create, how they would rather write than edit, and how many editors struggled for publication just like a normal writer. They envy us. It struck me that they only edited because they couldn’t write.
I’m big into preparation. I like plans, spreadsheets, and checklists. I outline as I write because I hate flying without backup. I love the fluidity of creating, but I also like the accomplished sense I get from revising. And it’s really, really easy for me to cancel my writing session for the day, in lieu of polishing a short story.
Get that? It’s easy. Editing is easier. We all know it hurts and sucks. But have you ever noticed you can revise when you can’t create?
I think editing it essential because it shows a writer there is room for improvement, more things to learn. But I think editing also creates the awareness that a writer can never learn everything, and that on some level, they will always be a failure.
With this in mind, my question to you is: why is it so important that writing comes first?
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