Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Editing Other People's Work

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It’s been an intense week of editing other people's manuscripts. I feel their voices slosh around my brain. I can’t do my own writing at the same time as I edit other people's. Can’t find that corner of mind that contains my own voice.
Head out for a hike once the last critique has been written. Sing as I go. It’s the passage from outer to inner worlds.

When a new manuscript arrives, I tell myself that I’ll work on a bit at a time, say, an hour a day. This never happens. I’m too damn curious, so I pounce on it and read it right through before I start editing. It pulses on my desk. It glows in the dark. I have to lift the cover and see what’s there, what’s brewing. It fascinates. I can’t wait to get back to it.

Funny, I don’t often feel that way about my own work. It does not glow on my desk. It often feels like a burden, something that I’ve told myself that I must do. I wish I could kick that habit of mind, seeing writing as a must-do, should-do, otta-do job. After all, I’m free as a bird and no one is hanging over my shoulder pleading that I write one more novel (more’s the pity). Why is it so hard to inhabit free choice?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Ann Ireland

Ann Ireland is the author of A Certain Mr. Takahashi, The Instructor and Exile. Her most recent novel is The Blue Guitar. She lives in Toronto.

Go to Ann Ireland’s Author Page