Breakthrough!

For a writer, each day is different. Some days, you are struck with amazing inspiration, and you can’t say for sure where it came from, and you can barely contain your enthusiasm to put pen strokes to page. On others, you wonder why you chose the profession at all, and do you even have the right to call yourself a professional when the words won’t come out right?
Then there are days like today. Editing days. Where you have a manuscript, but it needs much love and care, the kind of tending you fear is not your strong suit. Even so, you commit yourself. I will up this story’s stakes. I will give readers a reason to want to read on. I will make them care as much as I care for these characters, this place, this time, this work.
To feel like you’ve done that, even in a small measure–with the pruning of some words, the adding of others, to know that you’ve achieved a breakthrough when no one else knows it, no one else can see it to celebrate with you, is nonetheless such a glorious feeling I just had to share it here.

Fighting Through Doubt

I just spent my toughest hour yet of editing moving this passage here and that paragraph there. Reworking. Rewriting. Rethinking.
I went into the work with a clear vision, and I leave it for the day hoping I’ve done right. Greeting doubt on my way out the office door. To lose faith is so simple, so easy everyone has a talent for it. To maintain faith requires guts. And the ability to stare Doubt in the face and tell him he doesn’t frighten you.
It’s okay to say that. Even though you’re lying and you know it. Maybe one day it’ll be true. I’d like to believe that day will come when I reach publication, though I fear that, even then, Doubt will play a significant role.

A Light At The End Of The Editing Tunnel!

Today’s post is a happy one!

For I have found, and can finally glimpse, the light at the end of the editing tunnel. No, I’m nowhere near done with the long and grueling edit that I’ve got underway on my novel, but as I go I am beginning to see it firming up, becoming something less conceptual and more tangible. I know now what I need to do to make the edit count.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I hate it when I read a book, and I feel like the author phoned it in. Come on, you’ve all read books like that, you know you have. What do you think at their end?

Of course. You think, Why did you waste my time with this? You might even blame the author.

I commit to never wasting your time, dear reader. Both my time and yours are just too valuable for me to do that.

So I’ve come up with a poem to remind me as I continue editing who’s important to a writer.

Their publishers, sure, and if I had one their notes would be at the forefront of my mind. But even more important….

Their readers. We write to get readers.

If the reader

Doesn’t read

What the reader

Should have read

When a story went from concept

Living in your head

To words that might engage,

Enrage,

Or yellow on an antique page,

If what needed communication

Didn’t get to them,

The fault rests squarely

With the writer and his leaky pen.

So spend your ink wisely.

A Dispatch From The Editing Bunker

That’s not what I wrote!

Yeah, it is.

How do you know?

Did you write this book?

Uh-huh.

Then this is what you wrote; no use denying it, because this is what ended up on the page.

But that’s not what I meant to write! That’s not what I meant to say!

Tough.

Boy, have I enjoyed the internal debate that’s been raging in my mind. When what you thought you wrote and what you actually wrote, what you thought you communicated to the reader, and what you actually communicated to the reader differ to the point where your editor can’t quite understand the point of a certain section of writing, then, yeah, your book still needs some work.

There’s always, for me, that little bit of doubt that I let creep in and grow bigger, fed with negative thoughts and statements from this guy himself.

You can’t do it, my mind screams. If you could do it, if you could write what needs to be written, wouldn’t you have written it already?

As I sit hunkered in my editor’s bunker–the lady who edits my work doesn’t have a bunker; that’s just what I’ve taken to calling my room, where I mentally kick my own ass for the sake of what is (I promise) a great book, I try to remind myself that everyone must edit, even the greats, like Fitzgerald or Twain, and everyone has doubts. Push trough them. Review your suggested edits. List them. Brainstorm fixes. Put those fixes in your list. In this way, you can accomplish your edits in the way I need to; bite-sized chunks as opposed to humungous sections of writing that seem to have no end and make you feel like you’re swimming in an endless ocean.