Editing Sometimes Ignores Feelings

Post date: Mar 25, 2019 2:22:0 PM

There's nothing like the feeling of holding your freshly printed manuscript in your hands. Usually. The first time I printed out a manuscript to line edit, I felt a sense of purpose and achievement. This most recent time, however, when I look down at the papers I just want to toss them into a fire. Not because they're bad. They might even be objectively better than that first manuscript I printed and gave to beta readers who later said they loved it. It might not be. But I don't believe that it's so much worse that it belongs buried in a drawer.

It's just easy to get caught up in the idea that there's always more work to do. Really, I just want to give this work one final polish before sending it out to give it its best chance at finding a home with an agent and publisher. Yet, there's still that feeling that this work belongs in the trash.

It's odd. I want to edit it and polish it, but I'm easily distracted from doing the work. Something always seems to come up: a spring training baseball game on TV, a new video game to play or a favorite old one, a movie to watch, a nap to take, etc. Instead of just buckling down and doing the work.

Or, when I do the work, I find myself relaxing early. For example, "Oh, it's only one o'clock and I've already read and edited X chapters. My goal was X. Guess I'm done." Instead of continuing to work until five and reading Y chapters, I'll stop after hitting X. Nothing inherently wrong with that. There is such a thing as mental fatigue, especially when editing. And I do prefer to have a sharp mind when combing through a manuscript, but the longer it takes to edit, the longer I'll have to wait to send it out and the longer it'll take to hear back. And, let's be honest, it's already a long process.

But, in the end, I'd rather not rush it. I'd rather send out the best version of the manuscript I can so it'll find the home it deserves. Yours. That's the ultimate goal.