I am currently editing my young adult, science fiction novel and found that editing takes a lot longer than writing that first draft. Of course, I knew that. I didn’t realize how much longer.
Writing the first draft is not editing. While both involve creativity, the first draft has empty pages to work from. Nothing into something. Editing is changing that something into a less confusing something. A different way to think, I think.
New writing has flaws and drifts in thought. Editing eliminates the dead ends, makes grammar make sense, and forgives an absent trail of logic. If a writer is working on a schedule to finish a piece of work, they need to budget the bulk of their time to editing what they wrote (this goes for grant writers, too). From start to publication, editing will take the most time to complete of any project. Or, should.
So many writers spend as little time as possible during editing.
It goes back to editing being a different way of thought. Some writers are good at creating something new, some good at making that creativity better, and others can do both. A writer should decide what they are best at and ask for help with the other.
As I continue to edit my novel, I have changed my way of thinking about what I wrote. I am being more careful with the editing. The first draft was fun and fast. Editing is slow and business-like. It took some time to adjust my way of thinking and I hope I am there now.
This means spending a lot of time to make sure my novel sings the way I want my novel to sing. No flat notes allowed!