Well, today the book was printed out – again – for editing – again – with the hope that I won’t have to do it … again.
I know, I know: I’m the same as everyone else when it comes to writing, editing and ultimately publishing a book. It takes longer than I want. I want it to be the best I can possibly make it. I want to present a story that holds together from beginning to end. I want to entertain the reader, whoever he or she may be.
And then I edit, and edit, and edit. I get bored of bits of it (and if I’m bored, what is the reader thinking?) I get frustrated with sentences and paragraphs that I have rewritten repeatedly and still don’t sound right. I cry at the parts where it all goes wrong.
It turns out I am best at one of the crucial parts of editing: walking away. Give me a chance to pop off for a cup of tea, or meet up with friends, or go shopping… and I’ll gladly escape, telling myself that it is important to give my writing space. I must allow time for the edits to sink in, for comments to be realised, for the perfect words to come.
Today, when I sat down and worked at the book I realised it wasn’t going to take as long as I thought to finish off the bits that I knew were wrong (note: I found many new parts that were wrong as well!) Every time I tweaked a sentence, or rearranged a chapter, or rephrased a paragraph I knew I was improving the book, and I knew I was that much closer to the final product.
Does having done it once before help? Yes, as I know the timescales I can expect before it will be able to be physically held in my hands, but in other ways no, as it still needs to be written!
I am determined not to walk away from it, and I am determined to make it as good as I can. I anticipate the next week will be filled with moments of despair as I re-read the book once more and wonder why anyone would be interested by it… interspersed with moments of joy, laughter and tears as I re-live the writing. Editing benefits from breaks, but it also benefits from hard work, and that is what the coming week (or two) holds.