I have been slogging through editing my pre-first-draft for several weeks now. It’s been hellish. You see, I wrote the first 150 pages of the book using dictation software. The theory was: I can speak extemporaneously and create excellent, well-thought-out, coherent speeches. So why not just record those and turn them into a book? It seemed so simple.
There’s just one problem. What works in a speech doesn’t work in print. You can’t organize things the same way. You don’t have voice tone and inflection, so spoken jokes fall flat on the printed page, and you miss great written jokes that don’t translate to spoken word.
But even worse, when speaking, you create a narrative that kind of hangs together. Speech is very forgiving. Once it’s down in black and white, however, it became obvious that I repeated sentences, overused certain expressions, and wasn’t very coherent at the level of the chapter or section.
The transcription went fast, but the editing (which really amounted to rewriting) went very, very slowly. Combined, I suspect the two took longer than composing directly at the keyboard. Certainly, editing the transcription has been more like trying to swim through quicksand than anything that might resemble a joyful, creative act.
But now… the editing is fast and easy, like a hot knife through a butter sculpture of Barbra Streisand. Life is suddenly good again!