No writer is an island. Not even a writer on an island.


A few words on the importance of the editing process. OK. There was a time when I thought I was so right that editing would have been offensive. But I was a moron for thinking this way. Even the best minds of our world need help to sharpen their thinking. I think this is the biggest reason the publishing process will continue to exist, and probably the best reason why self-publishing will always be a tougher route.

I have a friend who’s a musician. He’s just put out his own album. He sent out the invites to the launch. And links to his songs, which I can download for a small fee. But, um, I don’t know how to say this nicely, the album is not very good. I’ll buy it, because he’s my friend, but I wouldn’t buy it because I want to listen to it. He’s a fine singer, so the problem’s not talent. The problem is editing, I think. He needed someone to help him see problems and fix issues in his work.

Sometimes success ruins someone and they become too ‘big’ to be edited. I’m thinking of George Lucas here. When he allowed others to help create the Star Wars series, they were better movies, from my perspective, than when Lucas got everything he wanted, how and when he wanted it.

The editing process, as it draws to a close, has been excellent. I’ve had at least four people covering my back. My work is not literary or anything, but they are just making sure I won’t produce anything embarrassing. Just so you know, I have embarrassed myself. It’s awful. There are a few things I’ve written and published that I hope no one ever reads again, ever.

I remember this guy in High School, who in a drunken stupor, decided to paint “Grad ‘81” on the side of the school, which most people in our school would have thought was cool at that time. Instead, he painted “Grade ’81.” His exploits dropped from cool to fool instantly. I think most students would still remember him that way today.

One other note. Even though I’ve written a fair number of things, I still have an alarming capacity to suck. No matter how good you get at whatever it is you do, the possibility still loiters in the background ready to make its presence known. And for this reason alone, you want people to help with the work of sorting out a text.

As one of the people helping me sort out “Duck Boy” said to me this week: “I’ll make sure you aren’t embarrassed.” And that’s what I need. I need help because as a writer I still “sin.” I miss potential, I mis-write the text, and I can still write prose that makes it look like I haven’t finished grade six. This much I know is true: no writer is an island, not even a writer on an island.

About Bill Bunn

Bill’s excited because his second YA novel, Kill Shot, is now available everywhere! Bill Bunn is the author of several books, essays, and articles. He is currently writing two pages a day to generate the rough draft of his next novel. Bill Bunn lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Bill teaches English at Mount Royal University.
This entry was posted in advice, fiction, non-fiction, Writing advice, Writing process, Young Adult and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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