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The Vicious Cycle of Editing!

April 16, 2014
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Have you ever looked back at older posts and cringed for any reason?

I have, many times, for almost all my posts.

I have a habit of reading my old stories, every now and then. Almost always I end up editing them, and that too, multiple times. Sometimes, the stories become altogether different. I change the narration, pace and even the ending. I groan at the language mistakes and the use of too many unnecessary words. I look at ways to tighten the language, shorten the paragraphs and lengthen the important bits. I remove a comma here and add a semicolon there. I even change the names of the characters at times! I usually save the versions in my folder but on one occasion, I published two versions of the same story in my blog, found here and here.

Sometimes, I rewrite the whole story with a different POV. Then I delete it and attempt again. The same stories crowd my mind for days. Some of them are so close to my heart that I am always trying to perfect them.

Every now and then a contest comes up. Each time, I decide to participate at the last moment and end up recycling one of my old stories rather than writing a new one from scratch. I know I am being a lazy, completely unimaginative writer but where is the time?  I edit, re-edit and further edit till the last second before the deadline.

Many times, I continue editing even after submitting! I don’t know why but I can’t help but change things all over again. Recently, during the editorial process of my contest entry which was published by Rupa Publishers, I suggested new changes from my side, despite the tight timeline! I just can’t seem to be able to forget the old ones and let them be.

I wonder whether it is a good thing or bad! This process has resulted in multiple variations of the same story, each better than the last one (according to me). But this has prevented me from attempting new ones despite having half a dozen plots in mind. Whenever I open a new blank document, I end up navigating towards the other documents containing my words; my eyes are drawn towards the sentences which I do not like any more; my mind starts thinking about the different narrative style I could adopt for that story and the time flies!

My blank document fills up with familiar words.

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