Writing is hard. Duh. Anyone who tries to write knows that. The sweat, the blood, the characters, the eternal plot juggle. The properly placed and well-used guns. And then you have to send your baby off and hope–truly hope–that it doesn’t get mutated, mangled or poorly circumcised in the process.
Editing is hard too, although in a much different way. You have to edit the story and then you have to help the author understand why those edits matter, ideally in a way that will help them became a better writer. You have to put your ego on the shelf and let the story rule. You have to be able to communicate, clearly and efficiently, and you have to know which edits are big stones and which are little pebbles that you should just drop on the ground.
And that’s just the story work. That doesn’t take into account the business side of writing or editing. That’s a whole different beast, surely. Alison Tyler riffs on both sides of the desk a bit this weekend, with her posts on her Editor’s Rant and her Writer’s Bill of Rights. I have to say, I think she’s spot-on. I’ve also talked about these topics a bit in the past in my Erotic Author’s columns, Just Submit Already and “Sorry, Wrong Hole!”
Truly, like any art, craft or business, the writing and editing stuff is something that has to be learned–usually by making big, whopping mistakes (hell, I’ve made lots and lots). But it can be learned, and so much of it is just about all the other ways you might consider living your life: with an open mind, a big heart, enough ego to ask for what matters and let go of what doesn’t, and a healthy sense of humor about it all…