A to Zing, Fun, Quotes, Writing

“E” is for…


“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
Shannon Hale

That four letter word that I actually enjoy.  It’s the editing phase that teaches me the most about being a better writer and a better person.  It’s the refining process that turns tarnished metal into gold.

When my stepdaughter was an elementary teacher, she took a writing class for needed earned credits.  In that class the instructor told the participants never to use red ink when correcting papers because it was too harsh.  They were told to use any color but red.

That got me thinking how far back it is ingrained in kids to fear the correction–or editing–process, and how it frequently carries into adulthood.


I read about a process called story editing in which small changes in one’s own life stories and memories help with emotional health.  My bet is it doesn’t use a red pen.  It includes making small changes in how one interprets life events, and essentially taking control over that which once controlled you.

Today I will wear red, as a color of power rather than dread and fear, and I will rewrite–and edit–the color for what it is.  Vibrant and beautiful! 🙂



19 thoughts on ““E” is for…”

  1. What a great opening quote! I also enjoy the editing process — so much so that I sort of edit as I go! Lots of writing books tell you not to do that (they say to get your first draft OUT and worry about fixing stuff later), but if somethig really isn’t working, I need to fix it before I can continue. I’m weird that way. 😉 Great post!
    (Here from the A to Z Challenge, too: http://wannabewriterlife.wordpress.com/ . Good luck with the rest of the challenge! 🙂 )


    1. Thank you! I have come to believe that writing books are “guides” and there isn’t a one size fits all. If editing as you go works for you, continue on. I have to confess I do that as well–except during NaNoWriMo. And then I even find myself fixing things. 🙂


  2. Yes, editing is a powerful tool. I love your statement, “It’s the refining process that turns tarnished metal into gold.” So true. Now, back to writing. =)


  3. I love using red pen to edit. It’s bright, it stands out from the original text, and it obviously points out where I’ve gone wrong. Editing shouldn’t be a nice process. It should be harsh. It should show the writer where the mistakes are and point out what needs to be fixed. Red should be the only colour used when editing!


  4. I, too, enjoy and learn from the editing process. The sandbox/sand castle quote is one of the best descriptions I have read to convey the writing process. Nowadays I use red for my editing marks because it stands out better. Blood on the page…let’s fix it and help the story stop bleeding!


  5. Shannon’s idea sounds good. I’m on the fence about fast first drafts. My efficient side says it’s a waste (since I’m now in the process of dumping and rewriting half my first draft), but maybe I needed to write it to get closer to the characters and the story. I’ve never had to dump that much writing before though, since I usually write slowly and confidently, and the waste is just killing me!!
    Lexa Cain’s Blog


  6. Yes, that’s a great way to think about editing. I sometimes dread the editing/revision process in my own writing, especially since I put such high expectations on it. I’m a big believer of the ‘mad dash of creativity’ style of first draft, which means I have a lot of editing to do most of the time. But how much worse would it be if I couldn’t edit anything once it was down on the page?

    Great to meet you.


    1. My best and worst work comes from NaNaWriMo. Worst because it’s all spewed onto the page without making any changes (well, maybe not any changes because I’m consistently fighting my inner critic) and much of it is gibberish in the end, but best because I’m getting so many words out as fast as I can, and at least getting words on the page. 🙂
      Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂


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