A.R.M.S. vs. C.U.P.S.

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Being an author is so much more than “letting one’s creative juices flow” (to borrow the words of fellow creator Artie Q) as a novel transitions from the idea stage into an actual book. In fact, much of the time it feels anything BUT creative. For instance, there are the necessary processes of revising and editing. Moreover, if one is an indie author, there is also the business end of things — such as designing and formatting, acquiring or creating a book cover, making distribution decisions, and promoting, just to name a few. For today, though, I am musing over the revision and editing processes.

It is helpful to understand the difference between revising and editing for the best possible realization of one’s work.  CreateSpace has posted this clever graphic:

 arms.cups.image

To be honest, I tend to do both of them at the same time. As I revise — adding, removing, moving, and substituting — I’m also fixing any mistakes I find in capitalization, word usage, punctuation, and spelling. Of course, inevitably, I am also making new mistakes I’m not yet aware of.

In the end, there is always just one more edit to get through. Sadly, mistakes are low-down things that have the mysterious power to sneak through an awful lot of editing — done by me, and others — a realization that can wring sighs of weariness, frustration and dismay from an author. Hence, the popular internet meme: “I do my best proofreading after hitting the send button.”

Does that mean editing is more important than revisions? No, of course not. However, it is just AS important. Frankly, in my opinion, there is a point at which a writer needs to stop revising in order to maintain the veracity of the work. On the other hand, there can never be too many edits.

Of course, at some point one must let go.

No doubt, I will continue to do A.R.M.S and C.U.P.S. together. I will also, even when I think I’m finished, do one more final edit — a final showdown between me and those low-down sneaky mistakes — before sending my creation out into the world.

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4 thoughts on “A.R.M.S. vs. C.U.P.S.

  1. Hey, Jayne. I’m with you; iARMS & iCUPS @ the same time, too! Also have to qualify my remark, “letting one’s creative juices flow” – I would say that in the two years it took me to write my book, the first was “The juice flowing” (with, of course a lil iArms & Cups-ing along the way. The remainder (at least 18 months) was spent with more editing/revising/learning rules of submitting to agents/formats-synopsis, etc/syntax/grammar, etc. So in the scheme of things, the initial creative impulse/force was “merely” a quarter of the final product. Regards, Robin.

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  2. Robin — I agree that much of the work of writing a book doesn’t feel creative at all — it feels more like slogging through slush while searching anxiously for dry land. However, it’s that first creative impulse that provides the reason for the book or whatever we are creating to exist in the end. Those of us who DO it can’t seem to help ourselves. I think we’re all a little crazy….but that’s okay. The world needs people like us. ((hugs)) — Jayne

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  3. Hey, Jayne. Apologies, missed this response. Agreed! However, maybe “a little crazy” but a little more well balanced in the overall schem of things, than those who profess to be “sane.” … maybe? 🙂 Hugs back acha.

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  4. You may be right, Artie Q. I think those of us who feel compelled to follow a muse, and are brave enough to actually do it, are pretty balanced humans. Those who are too afraid to try miss out on so much….how can they be balanced? I’m hoping my muse will notice my good attitude and be kind to me this week. I have a lot of creating to do. 😀

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