What Do You Want To Be?

This year I finished my first novel. I also took on a job doing some editing in addition to my writing and my day job. I had hoped that editing would bring in some extra money while using my language skills.

I hadn’t counted on the sheer amount of time it would take me to do all the editing that I was asked to do. I worked for a number of people, and the drafts i received were of varying quality. A number of the manuscripts were still quite rough when I received them. (For those of you with editors–your editors should not be getting raw first drafts. And if you know your revised work still reads like a first draft, consider having a beta reader help you with minor issues, like determining if a sentence’s meaning is unclear, or correcting obvious spelling and grammar issues.)

After a few hours spent writing, all the words blurred together–not a good state of mind to start editing. I needed to be sharp and fresh, or I’d miss details.

I tried editing first. By the time I’d put in a few hours, my brain was exhausted–not conductive to good writing.

By summertime, I found myself devoting my writing day to either Writing or Editing. To keep ahead of deadlines, several months were devoted entirely to Editing. None of that editing was my own writing.

I had to ask myself: do I want to be an editor, or do I want to be a writer?

So, in September, I finished my final manuscript and gave up my editing jobs. I didn’t need that extra income as much as I needed the time to focus on my real goal–being a writer. I still have a day job to pay bills with and it doesn’t take the same mental “toll” on me as editing does.

Since then, I’ve written a number of short stories and started work on my second novel. It feels good to be a writer again.

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