In November of 2010 I submitted a piece to an anthology that was being put together. It was the first time I had ever submitted my writing to anything and surprisingly (at least to me), they accepted it. Being an anthology, the editor had a ton of different pieces to look through so I’ve been waiting and waiting to hear if I will have any edits to work on. I was beginning to think that maybe she liked my piece as is and didn’t want to mess with it. Haha. I was so naive.
She sent her thoughts to me last week while at the wedding, so I didn’t get a chance to look at it until I got back into town. I avoided opening it at first, not wanting to tackle such a project fresh off a vaca, but I knew there was a deadline looming. Apparently I was one of the last edits since everyone needed to be completed by this Friday. So I reluctantly opened the file and prayed that she didn’t complete rip apart my piece.
Oh the red! It’s everywhere! Run for your lives!!!!!
I’ve never been through an editing process and truthfully seeing that many slashes scared the living poop out of me. I closed it immediately and hung my head, all the while my inner censor was screaming and laughing with delight. “See?! You do suck. I knew it! I knew there was no way they actually wanted to use your piece. Maybe if you tell them it’s too much they will let you pull out now and save yourself the embarrassment of publication…” and on, and on, and on. My censor’s got a sick sense of humor.
I sat back and sighed, trying to shake out the initial shock and then thought realistically about it. I’m not perfect. I’m definitely not a perfect writer. And truthfully, I tend to drone on a little too long and with unnecessary passion sometimes. I pulled myself together, went back and opened the file again.
When I actually studied the edits, I found them justifiable. There were many sections where the text was repeating something I had already said. Or where a whole section would be stronger and more interesting without all the extraness. I settled in and took a deep breath, removing myself from the piece and looked at it from the outside, walking around it and picking apart all the different sections. And when I did that, I found that while I agreeing with her edits, I also found ways to incorporate my own spin on her idea and in the end was able to combine her eye with mine to create a stronger piece.
If I want to be a published writer (and I really, really do), then I’ve got to be open to outside input. I have to recognize and realize that if someone takes the time to edit then they obviously think there is something there in the first place. Basically, I need to pull my head out of my ass and stop claiming it smells like roses.