Editing is Surgery

Editing is a strange business; editing your life story is even stranger.

It is, as I put it to a friend yesterday, a bit like performing surgery on yourself.

Some of the surgery is cosmetic; word choice and grammar, other parts of it are deeper and a bit more complex.

There are certain parts that I’ve been loathed to let go of; sentences that I sweated over or that I like the look of but that actually add nothing to the story.

It is the cuts that will hopefully make a better book by the time it reaches the shelves.

Dissecting the words I have written about my life is surreal. I hadn’t expected to re-live so much of it as I’ve read, corrected and tweaked. I thought that the re-living process was over and done with in the first draft; but there is something about rereading that has awoken old memories, long forgotten feelings bubbling up from the seabed of my mind.

It has shifted long laid sands in a way that writing the book didn’t; but in a less personal, more objective way which has meant that I’ve seen the ways God has moved a little more clearly. It’s an incredible, if not exhausting, privilege.

There is something so refreshing about editing, stepping back to view it as a whole book, a whole story, even though I know the story is still continuing after the last page is done and dusted. It is delicate, detail work rather than the broad brush stroke of a first draft, getting into the nitty gritty of why I’ve written what I’ve written and how it can be better.

Editing is surgery because it’s detailed and complex, but also because it hurts a bit. The best thing, is that you know that the hurt will be worth it, because what will emerge will hopefully be something far richer than it was in its untouched form.





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