Have you ever taken a drawing class? There's a recommended way to draw the picture. First, you lay in your basic lines and shapes, then start to sketch out what you want the picture to look like. Then, you go in and refine and finish your picture. The refining and finishing takes the longest, and you can spend a long time fussing with one tiny little area trying to get it look just right. If that little bit is off, it can mess up the whole drawing.
This is very much what editing is like. Your first draft is the basic skeleton, and editing provides the finished product.Or, to pick up my theme from last week, your first draft is like learning a music piece, and editing is like going back and adding dynamics.
So, which is easier? Writing the first draft or editing?
Honestly, they are both difficult. But if you want to talk about time investment, editing takes a lot more time than writing does. Sometimes, the difference between writing and editing feels a little bit like this:
|Little people are courtesy of Microsoft Office ClipArt. I did the rest.|
But don't despair - editing might seem fruitless and frustrating, but what actually happens during this process is an amazing thing. You watch your skeleton turn into a fully realized living thing. You listen to the once choppy sound of your first draft turn into beautiful music. It's really incredible.
So if you're intimidated about editing, or discouraged because editing feels to you like that little cartoon, keep in mind that you're crafting something even more amazing than before.