Updated: May 4, 2019
Editing is high on my list of least favorite things for a number of reasons. I know it's incredibly important and I know most of my writing would be pretty sub-par without it, but that doesn't stop me from disliking the editing process. I've been noticing my own distaste for editing a lot recently because I've been having a particularly difficult time with a piece of mine. It started as an idea I thought was interesting but eventually turned into something I didn't enjoy reading. Some of that was just general boredom of reading the same 10 or 15 lines over and over again but most of it came from frustration with myself. I had reached out to a couple of people in order to get their opinions and advice on the piece, which ended up being both extremely helpful and quite a challenge. Along with real-life help, I have found that posting my poetry online for critique is also helpful. Places like reddits r/poetry_critics and other forums such as poetrycircle.com provide good feedback as well as an opportunity to read many other people's poems which can be a source of inspiration and also a good reminder that there are plenty of others making their way through the exact same process. Of course at the end of the day the piece is mine and I should only be making the changes I feel are necessary but because I'm still relatively new to writing public pieces I feel a huge need to adhere to any and every piece of advice. There were times when I felt like I was done but would continue to receive (not unwarranted) suggestions on how to improve. In all honesty it made me question my own skill as a writer. Why could I not get this piece right after it felt like I had been working on it for ages? I wanted to have something to share after weeks of work in progress posts and promises of new material but I kept coming up empty handed. I eventually took a break from the piece entirely but even when I finally started working on it again it wasn't as easy as I had hoped it would be. It took sitting down in a coffee shop for hours, with my boyfriend there to push me through the process, to finally get the poem where I wanted it to be. Editing is still something I need to get better at pushing myself to do because as helpful as it is to have someone there to keep you going, I'm not always going to have that. I think a big lesson with this piece was realizing how satisfying it is to have finished something after so much time. And hopefully I can remember how rewarding it feels to have come up with something I'm proud of the next time I'm struggling with a piece. It was intimidating to ask for help from others because it felt like I was admitting that I didn't really know what I was doing but that's okay. I'm 18 years old posting poetry on the internet for an audience of less than 100 people, of course I don't really know what I'm doing. But I'm trying to figure it out and that's all any of us can do.
A few steps of the editing process.
Check out the finished version on my instagram @shapeofsound or on the 'Works' page of this site :)