I'm alone in the house for a good portion of the day today, because the grandparents have taken Left, Right and Center so I can edit my butt off. I should pause to note that my kids aren't really named Left, Right, and Center, but their initials are L, R, and C, and you'll never guess how they usually end up in photos. This is handy because Left and Right are identical twins. When we took them home from the hospital, we had to paint their toenails until we learned which one was which. I should also note that I'm not literally editing my butt off. I've edited a lot of words from this book, so much so that I honestly think only five have survived from the original draft, and all of them are "the." But I plan to keep my butt where it is, just in case you were wondering.
Anyway, I have something to declare today--I am an extensive editor, and I'm proud of it. Yes, there are many authors out there who manage to turn out pristine first drafts in which more than five words end up in the finished product. They exist. I happen to know a few of them, and I'll admit to occasional bouts of insane jealousy. BUT.
I'm still proud to edit the bleep out of my mannies.
Part of this is because I know some fabulously talented Extensive Editors. (And you know who you are.) And I admire their dedication to their craft, and their determination to GET THAT BLINKING SENTENCE RIGHT IF IT KILLS THEM, and their desire to learn as much as possible about the art of writing. And then I think, "Um, Sparkly Merpire Princess?" Because that's what I call myself in my head. "Maybe you should give yourself a little credit too? Because you're doing the same thing they're doing."
I have to concede the point. Why does it matter how many drafts it takes you to get a great book? It takes as many as it takes. If you're an extensive editor, give yourself some credit for dedication to YOUR process. It works for you. Be proud of it. The Sparkly Merpire Princess told you to.
Disclaimer: I love you pristine first drafters too. I just gnash my teeth in envy while sending you hugs and sparkles.