Top 14 Editing Quotes

Editing. Many writers hate this part of the writing process even though it is the part they do the most. With editing you must kill characters, restructure the plot, alter scenes, rephrase sentences, remove excessive be verbs, and pretend you know as much about grammar as everyone thinks you do. But whether you do major content edits or proofread every single word in your story (or someone else’s story), editing is ultimately a rewarding process that will create an amazing book. To help you soldier on through editing your first draft, here are 14 quotes about editing, rewriting, and proofreading.


1—“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” —Shannon Hale

2—“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” —C.J. Cherryh

3—“Even if you write it wrong, write and finish your first draft. Only then, when you have a flawed whole, do you know what you have to fix.” —Dominick Dunne

4—“Editing is nothing like writing. Writing is giving birth to 50,000 words. Editing is getting them through college.” —Carrie Bailey


5—“There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” —Louis D. Brandeis

6—“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” —Meister Johann Eckhart

7—“The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” —Mark Twain

8—“Rewriting ripens what you’ve written.” —Duane Alan Hahn

9—“I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It’s not the final thing, it’s the first thing, which may just be the suggestive, vague identification of something that you have to come back to and rewrite.” —M.H. Abrams

10—“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” —Stephen King

11—“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” —Thomas Jefferson


12—“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” —Arthur Plotnik

13—“You’ll learn that the key to a great book is editing—grinding, buffing, and polishing—not writing.” —Guy Kawasaki

14—“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” —Dr. Seuss

Do you know other great editing quotes? Share them in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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