Writing vs Editing

Sheila Cameron Freelance Editor Gibsons BC

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I still have the journals I wrote in grade school and the essays that were well-graded in high school. It was a thrill to have my work read aloud by the teacher — the ultimate compliment — even though there were marks deducted for handing it in late.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read What Color is Your Parachute? in an effort to understand myself better and what else I might like to do with my life, and writing came up as a strong interest. I thought I would have a lot of spare time while on maternity leave (ha!) to engage in creative writing, so I took some courses through the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Writing and Publishing Program. I thought the Editing course would be dry and boring but that it would help me to be a better writer, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Still, it was planned to be a means to an end. I was going to be a writer.

But what I found was that it was very difficult to motivate myself to write. I would try and try to clear everything from my lists, make the whole house clean and give myself a long stretch of time in which I would allow myself to be creative. Only after everything was done could I start. At which point I would become hungry, or the phone would ring.

Then an interesting thing happened. My uncle told me he was writing a memoir of his life, and I offered to read it and give him some feedback. I was surprised at how much I could see his writing in a different way since upgrading my skills at SFU. We agreed to work together on the project and it was then that I discovered my zeal for editing. When I sat down at the computer, I lost track of time. The dishes and laundry remained undone. I didn’t feel tired. Passion drove the process.

I still enjoy writing and I plan to bring more of it into my life, but I’m not going to let it get in the way of passion. If someone has writing to share with me, mine can wait.


  1. Inspiring background story, Sheila. Thanks for that. I’m looking forward to posts from your book tour of BC. You and Mark will have a lot to offer writers when you come home.


    1. You bet, PJ. The tour kicks off next week and we expect it will be quite the adventure. Definitely looking forward to sharing what we learn!


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