You are alone in a dark room. Across the floor are the scattered pieces of three or four or five floor lamps. You don’t know how many. There are screws and bulbs and fixtures mixed together. You try not to panic as you feel your way across the floor in search of these pieces.
It does not matter how many times you’ve done this exercise before. Each time you do it, it feels like the first. People tell you, you’ve done it before, you can do it again. But they don’t know what it feels like to be in the dark room searching blindly.
Your work is meticulous. You must evaluate not only each piece, trying to discern its nature, but also how it relates to all of the other pieces. Most of the time, you feel as if your work is wrong. It’s a persistent feeling, that the path you’ve chosen, the connections you’ve made, will ultimately lead you astray. That inevitably, you will be forced to begin again.
But the only way forward is through the uncertainty. So you continue, in spite of your doubt.
Only when you have finished the first lamp, do you begin to realize that this darkness might not be forever. So you continue until the room is fully illuminated and your work is finally complete.
Next time, you think, next time, I’ll remember this and it won’t be so difficult. But this is not true. Every time you will begin with nothing. Every time you will begin new.
This is what editing feels like.