Vanity and Pride. Amateurs vs. People Who Give a Crap

Re-read your pet project. Go on. I’ll wait.

Did you read all of it? Did you give yourself honest criticism or pat yourself on the back for how perfect it is?

Let me tell you this: I’ve written a lot of short stories. And there are some of them that I’m particularly proud of. Sometimes I see a literary magazine that would love something I’ve written, but then I re-read that story I loved, and it just seems … awful. I could totally send it in anyway. But I don’t. Because I don’t try to publish stuff that even I think needs editing.

Editing is very important. I don’t care if you’ve read it fifty thousand times. Read it fifty thousand more if that’s what it needs.

Are you so vain that whatever comes out of your fingertips is gold?

But here’s the truth:

Everyone needs to edit.

Even me. I can turn in any essay with minimal editing and get a wonderful grade. But stories just don’t work that way. There will always be something you missed, whether you misspelled something or left a gaping plothole.

The point is that you don’t need to get ahead of yourself. You’re not so good that you don’t make any mistakes at all. In fact, you might be so bad that your friends just tell you that you’re a good writer because they don’t want to crush your feelings. I don’t do that, but I do know someone who has been inflated with praise by people who would tell that person just about anything if it would make them happy.

Heck, there are a lot of authors that think they’re so good they don’t need editors. I’ve found a random bracket thrown in after a word at the beginning of a chapter of an author who’s been published many, many times. I see typos all the time in books by famous authors. I see typos and flat-out errors in textbooks rather often, such as saying information is on one page but is actually on another.

No one is so good they don’t need edited.

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