It’s not that I’ve already run out of things to talk about. It’s more that this past week has been very busy – Last Sunday was one of the biggest, most important days of my adult life. Well, since getting married, at least. Last Sunday was the day I completed my first book.
It’s hard for me to believe it’s taken this long, really. I’ve been writing forever, but I’m such a perfectionist that it’s hard for me to finish anything. I go back and edit a million times over as I’m writing, and that ends with me not getting anything written at all. That, and my attention span isn’t always the greatest, so I tend to jump between stories quite frequently. I have over a dozen books started on my hard drive, but until now, I’d never actually completed one. It was a huge step forward, a cause for great celebration, and the beginning of what I’m discovering to be the actual hard part.
This feels like a terrible thing to confess, but I’ve never actually gone back and edited anything. Even when I was in college, I never edited my papers. I wrote them out in one shot, ran spell check, and went from there. Part of this is good, because it goes to show you that my typing, spelling, and grammar skills are decent enough that I can skate by without having to check my work. But on the flip side, it’s quite bad, because it means I don’t have experience editing anything.
What do I keep? What do I cut? Am I doing this right? Am I doing it wrong? Can it be done wrong? I don’t even own a red pen! These are new problems I face every time I sit down to edit. I quickly learned that I can’t stand to read my work in the OpenOffice document it’s written in, I had to print out a hard copy and edit it the old fashioned way, flipping pages, proofreading three or four times over, marking things out and scribbling out notes between lines and around the margins of the page. But again on the plus side, at least it’s not a bad first draft. I have some odd habits that have stuck in my writing since the days I did chat room roleplaying, but overall, there’s usually only two or three things on a page that I decide to remove or change.
It’s been a huge undertaking, but it’s one I’m happy to finally be doing. Once I’m done, I’ll read it again, but I’ll probably let my alpha readers review it to help find mistakes before I begin the second round of editing. When that will be, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve heard that the editing process usually takes about a week per session, but is that for full time writers, or people like me? People working retail and doing editing in the break room, coming home and doing housework and laundry, trying to squeeze in enough time to do a few more pages before bed? I hope to have it done before the end of the year, but as my work schedule gets busier and the holidays get closer, I’m not always sure that I’ll make it.
But I’m going to keep my chin up. Every day of this is an adventure. And besides, I have my husband to help me with editing… apparently.