Editing is crucial. It is necessary. I couldn't imagine ever publishing a novel that hadn't graced the desk and critical eye of a professional editor (or two). The less stupid I look when my book hits the market the better. I want my words to sound the best they can be, and I know I make mistakes (all authors are bound to make some, and I make my fair share) so I want an editor to catch what I can't see and make it better, make it shine all pretty.
This is what I signed up for. This is my Dr. Jekyll side. I'm intelligent (okay, I'm just average smart) but I know enough to realize that editing will make my book awesome! And that's everything I have ever wanted.
But then why the heck does it hurt so much? (Here comes Mr. Hyde)
It sucks to be told you're not as clever and crafty as you once thought you were. There are passages that you pour your heart into, words that you thought, "Holy crap! This is good stuff!" only to open up the file from your editor to find that passage SLASHED and has a comment to the side saying, "This scene doesn't move the story forward" or "Let's revisit this" or "You can do better than this."
Revisit this? What? Why?
(The ticks of doubt now start to take over, and you find your left eye twitching. It starts slowly at first and then gradually builds... what if you can't do better than this?)
And let's not mention all the repeater words you had NO idea you used over and over and over (you start talking to yourself a lot, and decide it is a perfectly acceptable form of communication).
Your editor marks areas where you use SOB (state of being) verbs too much, or where you really thought you were showing the scene only to find out you weren't at all. You were, oh dare I say it, TELLING and not showing. Your editor is marking things that even your kindergartener knows not to do! (You don't even notice that your hair sticks up anymore and hasn't been washed in days).
Then just like that *snaps fingers* you have lost it. The reasonable side of you, the one that you really thought was strong and capable in handling constructive criticism has become the crazy, irrational, all-day-pajama-wearing, self-doubting writer that you swore you'd never become.
You thought you had a nice thick outer shell, only to find out that nope, you're just one big chewy nugget--no chocolaty shell at all. Unlike M&M's, you will melt.
You thought you were better than this.
Editing is tough business. It's not for the weak of heart at all--especially when the editing process takes months or years to go through. I mean, you're actually paying someone to tell you how much you suck at the one thing you thought you were good at.
If that ain't fun, then I don't know what is.
But, I will tell you this, I'd much rather take the blows to my ego at this point in the game, than to put out a half-assed book and face the wrath from readers (that's scary in itself). And a good editor, one who shows you how to improve your craft and mold it into something greater than even you thought it could be, is worth every penny.
So, your turn. What say you? Do you just embrace editing and love the whole process (Dr. Jekyll), or do you ever get a little emotional and self-doubting (Mr. Hyde)? AND, if you have a way to make thicker skin (without pulling a SILENCE OF THE LAMBS kind of thing) I'd love to know. I need a way to cover up my chewy nugget (yeah, that doesn't sound too good, does it? But I'm leaving it because it made me chuckle)
I hope you see what I'm trying to say here :)