Monday 10 February 2014

Still editing

I had my second job coaching meeting today - mostly it was about re-jigging my CV to declutter it (and get it down to two pages, without losing too much content), and a skills analysis (about four pages full of what I'm good at). I'm starting to relax about the whole thing. Yes, it's going on the fifth week post-closure of the business, but my anxiety levels are down. This is a good thing.

Writing-wise, I'm still editing, and it's a struggle. Every sentence I add, I'm second-guessing myself. Mostly, though, it's about reworking the ending, so the last 30-40%. That's where the bulk of the work is - that's where all the additions are really going to be felt. I'm terrified I'll blow it, after so much hard, hard work, but I'm still pushing onwards. Slow and steady. I can't say I'm enjoying the process. At all. I loathe editing at the best of times, and the longer it takes, the more I hate it. My critical mind just gets stronger and stronger, and the whole thing starts to feel like running a marathon where somebody shoots you in the legs every 10km or so. It just keeps getting harder.

And all that's not helped by wanting to write other books. I've promised books, and there are books I have wanted to write for 3-4 years, and books that are done and just need a polish. I have several full novels that just need a little TLC. There are sequels and prequels I want to write because the characters are loud, and two half-finished novels with Lori I want to write, and I'm still dragging this whale towards the finishing line.

Part of the struggle is definitely fear of failure and of "ruining" it. Part is I'm getting tired of the book - I love the story and the characters, but I get tired of just about everything I've lived and breathed for longer than six months or so. I want to move on.

But the only way to free myself to write and think something else is by battling on. I just wish editing had a runner's high. I know high-speed writing does - once you build momentum, it's tremendous. Books can live entirely off kinetic energy. Editing, however, doesn't. At least not for me. I fret and freak out and hate the fact that I've written the book in the first place.

Ideally, of course, that battle won't be on the page. For the reader, the writing has to be seamless, the scenes all logical consequences of what characters are up to - even though the original draft didn't have those ten scenes. Ideally, being made to guess, the reader won't be able to even name the scenes that were "likely added".

I can wrestle the book all day and have only 800 words to show for it, which feels quite pitiful. Yeah, I'm slow. I'm a slow-ish writer, and I'm most definitely a slow self-editor.

I guess the only important thing about all of this is to show up, battle all day and have those 800 words as opposed to not. Every single sentence is progress.


  1. Keep on keeping on, Aleks. Those 800 words a day do add up. It's a slog, but you'll get there.