Sunday, September 13, 2009

Even the best books repeatedly punch you in the face while you are working on them...

There are some good things about editing, and there are some bad things.

The good, for example, is when you come across a line, a page or perhaps even an entire chapter that just amazes you. The passage that makes you stop, stunned and amazed and say: "Wow, I wrote that?!" And you sit there reading and rereading it over and over again because it literally brings tears to your eyes or sends shivers up your spine, even if you've already read it a hundred times. Heck, you wrote it and it still inspires you! (sigh) Yes, that's the one good thing about editing... witnessing your own brief moments of brilliance!

And then... there's everything else.

And I do mean EVERYTHING else. Because even if something is "okay," or even "good," there is room for improvement. Which interpreted means: it needs to be edited. That's the depressing part about writing. The "scary" part, as my sister called it. She told me the other day that she hates reviewing papers that she's already written because she doesn't like to go back and read all those mistakes she wrote. Well I'm with ya, honey! I hate reading them too! And I think she nailed it when she said that editing is scary... cause lets be honest, it is!

Unfortunately, the only way to make something better, is to just "buck it up soldier" (as my dad used to say when making me muck the cow pasture) and "get 'er done!"

One thing I worry about on these days of "editor's block" (when absolutely EVERYTHING review seems to suck) is that people will be able to tell... that they'll be able to distinguish the difference between my brief moments of brilliance and then all the rest. Its a scary thought. I don't want someone saying about me one day, "Man, that girl really had it when she had it... but wow.... when she didn't have it, she really didn't!"

Luckily, I'm not the only one with this fear. One of my favorite authors had this to say about writing/editing:

"'But if I am not inspired when I write, people will be able to tell, you say.’ But they won't. I remember one writer who famously said something along the lines of “Some things I write for love, and some for money, and nobody but me can tell the difference.” In the same way, no one but you will be able to tell which parts of a book came easily to you and which parts you sweated blood over. Sure, inspiration comes sometimes — a sudden great idea you can’t wait to write down — but it’s not often and usually at inopportune times when you don’t have a pen. And you have to learn to treasure those moments, because they are rare, and in between them are long stretches of slogging.” Cassandra Clare

Amen... I really couldn't have said it better myself. I can only cross my fingers and hope she's right!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sylvi the Amazing says...
Hey Julie don't beat yourself up! Its just your first book you have written! Love you! =]