After I created my “about” page for this new website, I decided to add my most polished stories. As I did so, I stopped and reread parts of them. Generally, I still love them as much as I did when I first posted them. However, some rough patches jumped out at me. I’ll have to go back over them again to smooth them out.
This, I think brings home the greatest challenge in editing: Namely, being patient enough to set aside a story which you think is done and very clean. And then, after not looking at it for several weeks or months, to come back to it with fresh eyes. It may seem counter-intuitive to let a story collect dust as it were before sharing it. Moreover, simply handing it over to an editor is not the answer for me. Before I have someone edit one of my stories, I want it to be as perfect as I can make it. This is not mere pride. I find the story as I write it. If I give someone something that is not fully cooked, so to speak, the editor will give me their critique, and in the jumble of the partially-form story and the critique, I will lose (and actually have lost) the story.
So, the moral is, let your stories collect a little dust, and then come back to them. They will thank you for it.