Great news, everyone! I have my manuscript back from the editor. And let me just say, wow. Her ideas and suggestions are so thought provoking, so utterly fantastic that I desperately wanted to jump up and down ecstatically for a few minutes when I read her memo. Of course I didn't, because I was at work at the time. And although my coworkers are aware that I'm rather strange (unfortunately it's impossible to miss), it would have required a little too much explanation. But suffice it to say, I have a lot of work ahead of me. Very exciting, thrilling, rapturous work.
Which brings me (in a very roundabout way) to my point. Editing is so important. Every writer on the planet knows they have to edit their work, that no first draft should ever be the last, but sometimes I think writers (especially new writers such as myself) don't realize just how much editing is actually required. I guess that's why I'm still reticent about self published authors. Now, I realize that there are some really great self published authors out there (Wes Funk for example), who have put their work through the wringer to make sure it's as good as humanly possible before it sees the light of day. But there are just so many writers out there who don't realize that they can't be the only editors of their book.
Here's what happens when only the writer in question edits their manuscript (by which I mean, they don't let anyone else read it and give editorial feedback). They may think they're being unbiased, but it's impossible. They will always have a vision in their head of how the story is supposed to go. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's important to be open to new ideas. When I'm done working through the suggestions the editor gave me, my book is going to be a lot different from the one I started with, but so much better. Unbiased readers, especially those with no emotional connection to you, can offer worlds of possibilities you never would have dreamed of. But you have to put in the work.
And speaking of editing, let's talk about the inevitable rejection. If you've written a novel, and you think it's amazing, that's all well and good. But believe me, it's not as good as it could be. Let it go through the wringer. Send it out, and with every rejection (and there will be tons), look for any hint of editorial feedback. If they say the main character was weak, or the plot wasn't believable, don't get angry. Really ask yourself, was it? I know a lot of writers out there are scared of all the hard work involved, of having to go back to the dreaded drawing board (I know I am!) but it's necessary. It's what molds us as writers. Send it out, take it to critique groups, go through a manuscript evaluation service, hire an editor. It's the only way to really grow as a writer and above all, tell a really, really good story.