I handed off my first manuscript to my first round of beta readers. It was a leap of faith in myself, that I could someday tell a story well enough to publish it. I’m not saying it was exactly like leaving the house without my infant for the first time, putting her care totally in hands other than mine, but it was. I’m trying to not worry. I worry.
I simply can’t afford an editor, and the time and money to find the right one (who will actually improve my work) aren’t resources I have at this point in my writing career. So I educate myself as much as possible, learn the tools in the word program, and rely on a circle of close friends who also read/write. They will guide me up the next step toward self-publishing.
Self-editing had become a round of avoiding the manuscript, not writing other projects because I was using my limited writing time to edit, and editing grammar in scenes I wasn’t sure should BE in the manuscript. To re use the over used metaphor; I could see the forest, loved the trees, but suspected some of those trees need the axe. I called in the beta-lumberjacks, because they’re ok. Even if they wear suspenders and a bra.
I could see the non-vicious circle of self-editing becoming a comfortable home, and how so many writers live there. Endlessly picking and adjusting, never showing their work to another person because “It’s not ready.” I have new respect for the writers who have overcome that fear, and more empathy for those who haven’t (yet) taken that step.
To help distract myself from the counterproductive editing, I managed to pick up one of my other projects, and I’m trying to get it into the shape of a rough draft. The feel of applying pen to paper, gliding across in loops and squiggles, is a productive effort and hugely creative. Daily word count is so much more self-affirming. I remember this joy.
It’s crap. But it’s glorious, visceral, and colorful crap. Crap that can be useable, once refined. This time, the estimated word count is manageable, something that could make the rounds for small publishers. It’s also vampires. Simultaneously popular AND overdone, but the story wants what it wants. <shrug> So, we make it fun, sexy vampire romance crap, rolling in modern cultural jokes and stereotypes, while picking apart the legends and applying science like a halogen lamp.
And my search history gets weirder…