Writing a book is two jobs

A while back, Hank Green made a Vlogsbrothers video, talking about writing. He mentioned what Tommy Orange said when he saw him speak at the University of Montana.

“At one point in the talk, he referred to himself as a kind of duality. There are times when he’s a writer, and there are times when he’s a revisionist. And that’s a completely different job.”

Being a writer and being a revisionist — the editor we must be — are on two different sides of the pole. Writers create things from nothing. Editors are like translators, trying to make sure readers can understand everything the writer said.

It’s hard to have a dual job. There are many reasons why writers hire editors, but writers also usually edit their work before anyone else.

Hank also goes on to say:

“I can’t remember exactly how he said it, but basically, you have to reader of your own work. You have to experience it that way, just like with music or any other art. You have to experience the thing you made, and in that process, enjoy your own work.”

Editing is like putting yourself in the mind of a reader. You experience your book as they would to see where it needs to improve and how. Editing isn’t just grammar; there’s a lot more into it to make a book stand out. But, most of all, you have to enjoy the thing you create. Because if you don’t enjoy it, who will?


I hope you enjoyed the quotes as much as I did. They made me think about writing a bit more. What do you think about the quotes? Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

11 thoughts on “Writing a book is two jobs

  1. I think that it is true. while I’ve never written a book, I even have to serve as my own editor for the small pieces i post or write elsewhere. during that process, I have to be in a different headspace than when I’m in the creative phase.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True! I’ve felt that when I’m writing/editing just a simple blog post or even when I’m writing/editing a book. I have to get in a new headspace.

      I’ll even go as far as to assign different days for when I write or when I edit certain things. For example, I usually write blog posts on the weekends. I edit throughout the week.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be difficult.

      When I first started, I would start writing when I was supposed to be editing. Or, when I was supposed to be writing, I would end up seeing a spot I messed up and start editing.

      Now, I have a mini system for it.

      I’ll assign certain days of when to edit and to write. Like, for this blog, I write on the weekend and edit during the week days.

      Also, if I see a spot that I need to go back to while doing something else, I make myself a note. Like yesterday, I was writing a part of my novel but noticed a spot where I needed to go back and edit through for consistency. I made a note about it and went right back to writing since it was my time to write.

      Hopefully that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When revising, I am, I believe my worst critic. Poems which have received a lot of positive feedback (likes etc on my blog), and which I edit prior to including in a book, are shortened or revised in other ways prior to being incorporated into a poetry collection. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

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