Editing. Otherwise known as rolling large rocks uphill…

You know the story in Greek mythology: Sisyphus, crafty and evil King of Ephyra (Corinth) was sentenced to roll a giant boulder uphill in the Underworld forever, for tricking Persephone. When he’d almost reach the top, the boulder would roll back down, forcing him to start all over again. Forever.

Sisyphus, by Titian

Writers, do you feel any kinship with Sisyphus yet?

In the last couple of months I have spent a gazillion hours editing. Yep, a gazillion. At least, that’s what it feels like. I am on the third of my own books (and have recently redone the first one I released becuase I got tired and sloppy), and spent about 24 hours (actual hours, not time in a day) editing my husband’s newly released book. I am on the third of these, which is scheduled to begin production work on September 24.

Don’t get me wrong, I know editing is uber-important. I get out my red (and green and purple) pen and go at it.  But I will never “like” it, in the sense that time flies by, you feel excited and alive, you’re having fun. Because, well, that’s the writing part. That’s kind of like kindergarten, when you get to use finger paint and Play-Dough and make turkeys from cutouts of your hand. Editing is… the SAT. High school trig. Drivers ed. Necessary but a serious drag.

I have a friend that’s an editor. I have done editing for people since college. I really do get it. Editing other people’s stuff, especially short things like articles and term papers, isn’t so bad. Editing four 90,000 word books in two months is a drag.

Here I go again, pushing that big rock…




Filed under Writing

8 responses to “Editing. Otherwise known as rolling large rocks uphill…

  1. I’ve never felt that way. Sisyphus was never going to make it to the top, and he never accomplished anything different with each trip. Every edit is a step forward that leads to a finished book.

  2. That’s true, we do have hope… But it certainly FEELS that way during the process. But I know some people enjoy it. I’m sorry I’m not one!

    • I understand the feeling. I enjoy editing until about the tenth runthrough, and then burnout hits. Time to step back for a while. Thank goodness, I have nobody’s deadlines but my own, and I don’t take them too seriously.

  3. BF

    As a very young writer battling with a lot of distractions (aiming for a career in medicine, of all things!), I am ashamed to say that I have never even reached the editing stage. If you are Sisyphus, achieving the climb only to have to make it again, I am Tantalus, tied up in a pool; I cannot even push a boulder up a hill, let alone watch it fall again. I would love to be able to push a metaphorical editing-rock alongside you, and I hope that one day I will give myself the chance.

    • Take heart – there are seasons for all things! I was able to start writing “full time” last year because my last child was a high school junior so pretty independent on his schoolwork (we homeschool). When my kids were younger, I’d be in that pool with you! I did more visual arts then (painting, drawing) becuase I could do that for shorter bits of time or sneak out for a class. That you’re writing at all with all you have going on is great – the spark will stay alive. Good luck!

  4. JustEnglish.me

    Dear Jennings,
    It is my pleasure to inform you that I have nominated you for The Liebster Blog Award. Please find more information at: http://justenglish.me/2012/09/09/and-some-awards/

    Thank you for contributing to the blogger community with your wonderful posts.


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