I have a much better understanding of the expression “love-hate relationship” now.
Working with an editor is an incredibly frustrating experience. It’s their job to be critical and brutally honest in their opinions, but I can only hear “wordy, cut out half of it” so many times before I want to scream. Often her specific recommended changes, and the changes they lead lead me to make, really do improve the writing. That means I cannot just get annoyed and dismiss them, I have no choice but to face the criticisms squarely each time, only taking considered action when reworking my writing, item by painfully disputed item. It’s like getting back into the boxing ring again and again with a sadist, knowing that I can’t give up or I lose, I have to just keep getting pounded on, ducking, dodging, and hitting back. I wrote things in for a reason, and hacking out large chunks isn’t happening without a REALLY good counter-reason, but the constant justification, explanation, and second-guessing is draining. Making things more concise is great, but it is harder work in many ways than the original writing. So the writing really is getting better, the process is educational, but it is painfully frustrating and slow.
I strongly recommend that everyone write a novel, and work with an editor to get it properly polished and readable. You’ll enjoy it… when it’s over. 🙂