I recently finished a grueling slog through edits to my work-in-progress. It was a finale months in coming, not because it should have taken so long, per se, but because in between receiving the edits and finishing them, my wife and I bought and moved into our first house. As it turns out, I only thought I hated moving before. So I finished up the edits, months behind my personally imposed schedule, and then what do I do? I go right back to the beginning and start through again, because in fixing the manuscript before, I introduced a ton of continuity errors and some (lots of) typos.
Ugh. I am so SICK of this manuscript.
This year was supposed to go differently. I was supposed to be finishing up my beta-ready draft of the sequel, not still plugging away at edits on the first. The constant push to worry about what agents, editors and readers might want, what they’d find acceptable, was beginning to feel stifling. I wasn’t enjoying myself. Then I had a realization. It was okay that I was so far behind where I wanted to be. In paying for professional editorial help for my manuscript (thanks, Joshua!) I learned I didn’t really know how to edit before. I’d thought I did, but Joshua’s edits showed me the light. The painful, blinding, burning light. So this was a grueling but very necessary learning experience.
I am so sick of this manuscript, but I am in good company. Patrick Rothfuss has talked on his blog about how sick he gets of his manuscripts as his editing winds down. So when I started to feel the same way, I took it as a sign that it was finally nearing completion. This book (my third) is going to be my first to be published. I know that, not through some metaphysical sense of surety, but because if I can’t find an agent or editor who believes in it, I’m going to publish it myself. Because I believe in it. It’s finally good enough, finally ready. And that’s a pretty cool thing to consider.
In the meantime, I’ve made myself a promise. In addition to churning through the sequel in 2015, I’m going to work on a project in which I impose no restrictions on myself, creative or otherwise, a project never intended for publication. So this is me, getting an early start on goal-setting for the next year. One book published, two written. I’ll let you all know how it goes. 🙂