I’m not going to lie to you…editing sucks. You spend all your creative energy writing something, you fall back in your chair exhausted from the effort, then someone with a red pen snatches up your paper and says, “I’m just gonna take a little peek and tell you what I think.” Everything goes black for a minute and when you reopen your eyes, your lovely paper is ruined. It looks like a small woodland creature opened a vein on it. It’s gross and scary looking, but worse, it absolutely crushes your soul.
But it also absolutely has to be done. You must have a fresh set of eyes read your work, even if that fresh set of eyes belongs to you and by fresh I mean “eyes that haven’t looked at this story in at least three days.”
A great editor, even if it’s your own multiple-personality self, will make the difference between a story that barely makes sense in your head and a story that anyone can read and enjoy. Make sure your editor–even if it’s your best friend, your teacher, your mom, your dog, etc.–is worthy of the task and won’t spare your feelings in order to salvage a story that is riddled with impossibilities. Ask yourself, is you goal to be a writer or to be a person that keeps being told, “Yeah, that was awesome, I loved it,” by people with a dead voice and a blank stare?
The most important thing you can do is not bite the hand that feeds you, and in the case of an editor, the editor is feeding you constructive criticism that can only make your writing better. No, you don’t have to agree with every point the person makes, but you’d be an idiot not to at least look at the feedback and take it at face value.
Find someone who loves the genre that you write and has some experience with works that are at least similar to yours. Let that person have some time (meaning, don’t read over his shoulder while he’s trying to read your work!) to digest your story, and don’t be the kind of writer that makes people want to run the other way instead of giving you some helpful feedback.