August updated_10daysI’m in the throes of writing a memoir, Ten Days: A Journey Back to God, and am overwhelmed by all the editing that’s necessary.

Do I need all those was’s?

What words can I replace it with?

I sound like a doofus . Will anyone even care? Is there anyone out there who will read my story?

Fledging writers … and you know who you are … what breaks your back as you’re editing?

5 thoughts on “Editing … the Bane of Writing

  1. Robin, you’re way past the stage of fledgling writer! Most fledgling writers think their job is done when they type “The End!”

    As for replacing ‘it,’ you have most likely discovered that ‘it’ and ‘was’ often accompany each other. Here are some examples: ‘It was a dark and stormy night.’ ‘It was difficult for the fledgling writer to edit her work.’ My advice is not to try to change the verb to be but rather to write about what you’re actually talking about. The examples above are not talking about some nebulous ‘it’; they’re talking about a night and a writer. So the solutions might be as follows: ‘The stormy night raged on and on;’ and ‘The fledgling writer felt insecure about editing her work.’

    You are absolutely right to do away with as many verbs to be, since they are not as descriptive as other great words. And note that my solution sentences easily could have been written with ‘was,’ but they would have been weaker.

    Keep up the editing. You’re doing great!

    1. Thank you for your words of support. I love when I’m asked if I’ve finished my manuscript yet. “Yes,” I tell them, “three times now.”

      Move my focus from the words I use onto the message I want to share. Got it!

      Looking forward to coffee in a few weeks.

  2. I have the same problem, but twisted a bit differently. I actually enjoy editing, but it takes me forever. I’ll toy with one sentence until it’s just right. Invariably, that means I end up repeating a word from the prior paragraph or page, so I have to rework that one next. But like you, was/were are my nemeses. Good luck!

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