Okay, maybe love is too strong of a word. Because really, who loves getting told they made a mistake? That's hard to do. How about learning to not despise the red pen? Maybe that's a good place to start. I don't know about you, but I tend to bristle when I first get edits or notes back. I can't help the feeling of "I wrote it that way because it's how I wanted to write it." I think (or hope anyway) that it's just human nature to feel that way. As writers, artists, creators, whatever, we are creating something from nothing. I'm bringing life to something that didn't exist before, and who are you to tell me that what I made isn't the way it should be?
That's right. We're Gene Wilder, all crazy-eyed and proud of ourselves, and with good reason. It's a huge accomplishment to write a book. But how often do we get it right the first time? Speaking strictly for myself, not very often. The framework might be there, but the dialog is too on the nose or the action is clunky and confusing, or a million other things are wrong with it. The good stuff is there in theory, just not reality. James Michener said "I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter." I think a lot of people will agree with that sentiment. And besides, it's not personal. I'm not being critiqued. My story is. So I tell my pride to take a hike and I read the notes again and you know what? Half the time it's something I should have caught on my own, and the other half is suggestions that will really help the story in some aspect. So I dive in again, because I know the story deserves more than I've given it.
Now, I'm not saying that you should automatically accept the edits without question. Sometimes there's a note or edit I don't agree with. Just last week I got a round of notes from my agent, including a suggestion for a cool plot point that definitely could have helped the story. But I already had things plotted out a certain way, and it just didn't work with where I was headed. But we got into a good discussion and I ended up taking a large chunk of her suggestion and tweaking it to where it fit with what I'd been planning. This time it worked out pretty well. There have also been notes that I've argued against and ended up not using at all. The point is you need to be willing to explore. I didn't take my agent's note right out of the box, but it sent me down a path I otherwise wouldn't have gone, and I think my story is much better for it.
So loving the red pen? I don't know if that'll ever happen. But I don't despise it, and in fact I respect it. Because in the end it's there (and the people who use it are there) to help make my story the best it can be, and who doesn't want that?
Feel free to share if you've had any good or horrible edit experiences!