Dread and the Editing MindFebruary 10, 2015
Yeah, so, I thought this would be the easy part that would go really fast. No, really, I thought all I needed to do was tune up the narrator’s voice a little and fix some vague parts, and figured it’d take me a week tops. BOY, WAS I WRONG.
This is NOT a cry for sympathy. I meant for this website to be an honest record of what it’s like to quit your job to write books, and that means including the good, the bad, and the uuuuuuugly. Today I record what it’s like to look at something you’ve spent months working on and realize you ain’t anywhere near done yet. (Okay, I wrote about it one other time too, but I digress). My baby’s still my baby, but it’s purty ugly and could use a lot more work. The below are things I have thought to myself and/or whined about to my fiance, Thorn, Drum, and others during the still-ongoing editing process:
“Wait, this paragraph doesn’t make any sense at all.”
“That took me FOUR DAYS to write?”
“That took me AN HOUR to write? … man, and it shows, too.”
“I think I have to rewrite either the entire book or [main character]’s entire part in it.”
“Why did I think this was good? No one is going to want to read this.”
“They’re going to think I copied this part out of X. … Ooh, can I blame it on X?”
“Okay, I can’t use that metaphor three times in one chapter.”
“This part probably belongs in a different scene. Or a different book. Maybe a different universe.”
Current mood: fucking humbled!
It’s not all bad, of course. There are a couple of scenes that totally rocked on the first try and just needed a little straightening up, and I’m pretty damned happy about them. Also, thinking about the things that don’t fit and the unanswered questions in this book has led to a whole waterfall of ideas for sequels or spinoffs (mmm, product funnel… ).
And it’s inherent in any kind of creative endeavor that only the creator can decide when it’s done. I really don’t think “know” is the right verb there, at least not for me — it’s “decide.” I definitely feel the temptation to speed through it, make something Good Enough, and slap it up for sale, so that I don’t have to worry about it anymore and can move on to the next thing. But the perfectionist nerd in me is just aghast at that idea. At some point, the perfectionist nerd will need to sit down and let the book be done, but not yet.
Lesson f’ing learned about respecting the process and underestimating what I’m trying to do here.
By the way, this post is a microcosm of itself, because I spent an hour trying to write this yesterday morning before tossing it aside in frustrated disgust. Yes, I have days when I cannot manage 500 words on a topic that’s sitting in my mind like a fresh turd sits on the front stoop.