Unless you want a blog that’s nothing but me sitting in a corner eating Ben & Jerry’s, I might be a bit sparse the next few weeks. You see, I got edits. Round 2 on THE ARCHIVED, to be exact.
My first reaction, as usual, was to climb into my pillow nest with my ice cream and my sense of fail, and rock back and forth, musing on my own level of suck.
Thankfully, that feeling passes…mostly because edits come with deadlines.
It’s an odd thing, editing. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of it. Daunted, maybe, but not AFRAID. Not of the edits themselves.
I’m afraid of the self-doubt that comes with them, afraid it will calcify inside of me, spread until it paralyzes me from doing what I need to do.
I’m afraid of the ripple effect that comes with editing, the tipping of one, seemingly inconsequential domino that somehow knocks the whole book over.
I’m afraid of cutting it open, of taking scalpel to it. You know, doctors aren’t allowed to operate on loved ones. Why should authors be more fit? The answer is, of course, because we have to, because while editors can show us the tools and the places to cut, we have to go through with it, and probably because we can try things and mess up and our books won’t bleed to death on the table (though it feels like they will). But we can put things back, and unlike surgery, that part’s not clear before we start. Editors often show us the way in, but we have to find the way through and out.
I’m afraid that I’m not capable of making the book what it could be, what it needs to be, what I want it to be. Afraid that I’ll make it worse, or worse, that I will make it meh, that it will fall short.
I’m afraid I’m not good enough.
It’s like the art part of my brain wars with the math, the poet versus the problem-solver, one weeping while the other relishes the task, but neither happy at the same time. And the fact is, both have to be there, suffering and succeeding and fearing and trying. You can’t cast off the creator and become solely the surgeon. You would lose something inside the book, that something that is unquantifiable, that something in between. But you can’t ignore the surgeon for the sake of the creator, either. And you don’t want either side to simply be CONTENT.
The hardest thing is the DURING. Before the edits, you can make a plan, and after the edits, assuming you survive, you can collapse into a heap of relief and cookies, but DURING the edits, you need the pressure and the fear, the mercenery and the artist, both sides pushing and pulling and trying to keep the story stretched tight so it doesn’t all collapse. So it doesn’t bleed out while you’re poking and prodding and sawing off limbs and removing vital organs. It is…daunting.
I’m not afraid of the edits themselves, of the notes on the page.
I’m afraid of everything else.
So…if I seem sparse, that’s why. Feel free to send cookies, or videos like this one.
Beth Revis sent me this. It’s kind of the best thing ever, so I’m giving it to you.