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Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Editing And Life

Howdy Blog Fans

Last week I didn't blog because I was working. This week I mostly didn't blog due to ennui. And very, very, good books from the library. And house redecoration. And a cool knitting project. And a horrible, debilitating, disinclination to work at all.

I made a terrible mistake toward the end of last week. I checked the total editing time on the newest version of KMS (created in May- so a year after I finished writing the book and many, many edits later) and was seriously disturbed. I've revised the book 77 times since May. I'm not even going to tell you how many hours I logged.  

Then I thought about what else I could have done with that time. How foolish it is for me to believe I can write. How just useless my life is. The kind of evil thoughts that have no place in an aspiring writer's heart. So I decided to redecorate. That took up a bunch of time and the house is much more cheerful- although I think I damaged my brain from paint fumes. And I read many wonderful books by authors who inspire the heck out of me.

Writing is work and, at the moment, it is very hard work for which I receive no pay and very little enjoyment. Writing takes up my entire life. When I dream it is about the book, while I'm eating I'm thinking about the book etc.

While I'm knitting or reading I'm not thinking about my book at all and when I'm painting all I'm thinking about is the pretty wobbly effect the paint has on my vision (I will not use that type of paint again.)

I know why I feel this way right now. I have given the new revised version to other people to read and critique and the only thing I can do right now is wait for their response.

I HATE doing this. Sometimes you end up giving your book to a crazy person. I've edited out details but suffice it to say that one of my beta readers was nuts and didn't care for my main character or my style of writing. Which would be fine if I was not subjected to a really scary diatribe against my main character  and the publishing world in general. She said the book was awful but I took her criticism with a grain of salt since her book was incomprehensible.

She says she reads my blog (and used it as proof that I could write- is the blog *that* bad?) but I don't care anymore. Her base creepiness contributed to my ennui and she should be held accountable for it. I know, she'll be happy she caused me discomfort and I just come off as the jerk that I am but really. What else is a blog for?

A couple other people have the book. One has actually read a lot of it and has given good, useful, criticism. Another is waiting for me to mail a hard copy but I'm starting to feel a little sensitive about this process.

I have also developed a deep sympathy for agents and editors. A writer has the power to draw a stranger into her or his world. I believe a writer also has the responsibility to honestly guide the reader to the end of the story without unexpected grievous mental harm but that is a blog post all in itself.  It sucks to dive into the mind of a crazy person (and so many of them try to write) and then make Mr. or Ms. Psycho angry but bringing reality into his or her world. I know now why agents are so picky about format- it weeds out the super crazies in a reasonable and impersonal way. Bah.

I'll keep working. I want to be a better writer and I think I'm getting there. I'm learning why my book was rejected the first time and I believe I have it revised enough for an agent to sell- I feel it in my heart. It's a good feeling but tempered with insecurity because I could be just as delusional as crazy lady. Nobody has ever bothered to humor me before but maybe they are this time? It's all so artistic.

So, blog people, the lesson for this week is this: growth and change can be painful and full of insecurity. Staying the same is easy but ultimately unsatisfying. Changing and growing takes you out of your comfort zone, makes you a target by those who fear, or are threatened by, change and carries the risk of failure. 

But the reward! It feels so good to work toward a goal and then meet it. You become a better and happier person and, even if the result isn't what you intended, you've learned so much that will help you next time. Keep hope alive, keep reaching for your dreams because you only get this one life and you should make the best of it.

And when reaching your goal is too stressful take a little break. Read a good book, go out with friends, redecorate your living room. Do something fun- then get back to work! 

A very special shout out to Adam for starting college! Good job man! Keep up the good work- you owe it to yourself and the world to be the very best Adam you can be. I expect many great things from you =(^_^)= (I don't know how to make a dog so a cat will have to do as my ultimate stamp of approval)
(Yay, Adam! :D -Katie, who got to *edit the blog today)

Until next time

*Actually, all Katie actually did was write that, and this bit here in the third person. Katie has madskillz!

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