Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sometimes Editing Just Sucks

Yup. That's what I said. A couple of my CP's are probably shaking their head at me right now. Know why? Because they're editing rockstars. I've seen one of them take full notes from a beta read I did for them and apply EVERYTHING in less than 48 hours.

How? Because she's a mutant. A crazy, fun, amazing, mutant.

But back to the point: Editing is not fun. I'm a person who generally loves things when they're completely put together. I've said this before, but I love drafting. I love when everything is clean and I can see where it's going and the story is a solid thing in my mind. Editing screws all that up.

Chapters get moved, characters are changed, and if you're doing it right, everything gets a little complicated and stressful before you find your way to the other side.

I've been working through some fairly extensive edits in the last 4 weeks, and I feel like it's taking me too long. I don't know why. Every time I mention that I've done 1/2 the book in two weeks, or 2/3 of the book in four, they look at me like I'm nuts, but the pressure is there. I feel it every minute of every day. That doesn't mean that I don't want to keep working on it, and it definitely doesn't mean I don't think I have what it takes to get this book to where it needs to be. (No matter how often I whine about that exact worry to my CP's) (I love you guys.)

But it's a difficult thing to see the novel you've poured yourself into being twisted and cut and changed. It's hard on your first edit, it's another thing entirely with feedback from others, and most of all it's scary. I've been afraid for weeks that I'm going to get to the end of this and not be happy with the results. (I mean, I saved the previous version. I'm not a lunatic.) But still, editing makes me more prone to panic than usual.

Does this mean I'm going to stop doing it? Nope. Because those moments where I'm most afraid are also the moments I'm not being fair to myself.

You have what it takes to make your book shine so sparkly everyone wants to snatch it up, and so do I. The moment I stop believing that, is the moment I've lost sight of why I'm putting in all this work in the first place. Because that's what it is, WORK. Nobody said writing was easy, and if someone did, slap them please. Because it's not.

But it is worth it.

Especially in times like this when I come out of the grueling parts and realize I'm proud of what I've done so far. I'm not done yet, obviously, so there are plenty of chances for me to worry and fall apart before I reach that last page, but it's finally coming together and the excitement is outweighing the fear.

And that's what I'm here to tell you. If you're editing right now, stick it out. Ride out the fear and frustration as long as you possibly can, and don't ever give up. Even when it looks hopeless and terrible, every word you change brings you one step closer to the finished product.

As for me, it might take another 6 months, and the reasons I'm doing this edit might not pan out the way I hope, but that doesn't really matter. As long as I get to the end of this edit and can honestly say I've improved The Blood Train in a way that makes me happy, all of this will have been worth it. I love progress. I love seeing things change and grow even if I'm not always thrilled with the process.

Plus, as far as The Blood Train goes, I'm through the most difficult part, where everything looks terrible and messed up beyond my ability to put it back together. My confidence is back, my friends, and it feels great.

So keep working. And resist the urge to toss your computer out the window. (Screaming into a pillow helps.)