Snow Days: When Editing is actually Writing…

So. For the second day running, delightfully, I have a day off. I am a teacher so I am experiencing the joy that is the ‘Snow Day’. I know there will be many who are perhaps jealous and feel that us teachers get an easy ride, what with all those long holidays and finishing at three. I will always counter any of those arguments with the fact most teachers work damn hard, as hard as any one else I would say. I would also counter it with this; why can’t everyone have long holidays and snow days? There is no real reason apart from those at the top who are convinced in the efficacy of the Protestant work ethic, where one is somehow only a virtuous person if you work your socks off. For me, this is a false premise. You only get one life so why should the majority of it be spent in drudgery; where you sell your time to someone else richer than you? Those at the top do not work harder than those at the bottom.
I therefore relish the snow day, as I am sure that anyone would. Apart from savouring that the sky is the deepest blue that you will ever see and the treetops the most magical winter white I can spend a few hours doing something I love. And that, right now, is editing my latest work in progress which is the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo entitled ‘An End of Poppies’.
At the end of November I had hit the magical number of fifty thousand words and it had a full plot with an ending. Now the problem is, as any writer who has done NaNoWriMo will know, fifty thousand words does not a novel make. Most novels are at least twice this length. So I busy myself adding to it, with a vague target of one hundred thousand words. Doubling it if you will.
Now most ‘editors’ advise that you should ‘cut, cut, cut,’ and I am certainly cutting some passages, though I have to say they are small and rare. It sounds odd but there is a certain economy to writing fifty thousand words in thirty days and I seem to be quite good at being concise, making my plot points and not ‘over-writing’ things as it were.
Now though I find myself clarifying descriptions and adding detail, tone and colour. In fact you could argue that I am not ‘editing’ at all, although I do remove typos and change grammar and such. Neither am I ‘re-writing’ because the majority of what I have written I am happy with and find pleasing to read as I go through it. I suppose my version of editing is almost the opposite of what many do and what many would advise. I guess I am adding and polishing.
So, at the end of the day, on this beautiful snow day, I find that I am not editing at all. I am simply writing. How delightful…

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From my window, look snow has come…
© 2012 Simon Poore

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3 thoughts on “Snow Days: When Editing is actually Writing…

  1. Good way of thinking about it. I always wondered about people who say they write so many words a day, whether they’re talking about new words, revisioned words, or editing/polishing words. We can’t all be in first draft mode all the time where the word count piles up. For me, sometimes it goes the opposite way, the word count decreases after a hard day’s work. That counts too,doesn’t it?

    1. Oh yes I think that counts. I also get confused by the idea of first draft/second draft etc. I seem to be changing it constantly so never know where one draft finishes and the next begins. Only when I leave it to stew for a while and return to it does it perhaps seem like the next draft…

      1. LOL, me too. I’m not OCD enough to sit there and count the words I changed as daily wordcount. Guess I’m not like other writers who record the number of words written every day because some days I remove more words than I write. Happy writing!

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