I’ve Got a Secret

Open at your risk

Open it and assume the risk..

Shh, are we alone?

Nobody followed you?

You powered down your phone?

No snooping devices?

Good, now listen, because I can only say this once.

No, you can’t record this on your phone.

You are wearing a bug, aren’t you!

Okay, I’m satisfied now. Sorry for my paranoia.

Get on with it, you say.

But what I’m about to tell you is “Top Secret”.

You sure you won’t tell anyone where you heard this?

Okay, here goes.

Editing is a better teacher than writing.

Yes, I know it sounds incredible.

Of course, I’m not lying.

I know because I gleaned it from my source.

Would a source remain a source if I divulged it?

Thanks, for believing. Now here’s the skinny:

There are two worlds in a writer’s makeup.

World one is ego.

World two is id.

World one says you’re a fantastic writer.

World two says prove it.

It’s kind of like slaving away over a project at work to at last hand it in and have your boss ask, “Are you sure this is your best effort?”

Your first response is egotistical.

Of course! I worked until I could no longer work.

Your final response is pragmatic

No it’s not. I let fatigue overrule my judgment.

Ego is weak and breaks with ease.

Id is steadfast and demands accuracy.

When you write everything reads great, because you’re concentrating on logging thoughts, responses, actions and ideas.

When you edit, your need for excellence surges to the fore.

Ego is objective.

Id is subjective.

Writing is the coach who let you slide.

Editing is the teacher who demanded 110% and got it out of you.

Writing is telling a story.

Editing is telling a story well.

Writing is too soon satisfied.

Editing is forever demanding.

Writing speaks.

Editing shows.

Writing is a harried wordsmith.

Editing is a satisfied reader.

If you want your book to please you,  write.

If you want your book to please the reader, edit.

Yes, I’ve got a secret.

Now you have it.

Spend more time in world two than world one and allow your book to flourish.

Psst, burn the envelope and bury the ashes.

This is Agent Double-O-Aught hightailing it.

2 thoughts on “I’ve Got a Secret

  1. David Dvorkin

    For me, most of the time editing is also more fun than writing. The material is there to work with and shape properly. Editing is when I feel I’m really making the piece of writing into something good and worthwhile. (Well, that’s the goal, anyway!) The initial writing is throwing the raw, partially formed material out there.

    1. garyssloan Post author

      Well said, David, and editing is more fun than writing. To me, it’s energizing and like you say it refines the raw. I especially like what it teaches me about the craft of writing, why passages have to be written a certain way, how it shows glaring restatements, how some passages are dead weight and others are worthy. Thank you for your insightful comment. Your participation is always welcome, because your reputation for excellence speaks for itself.


Click in box to comment