Life has conspired to keep me away from Le Grand WiP for the past few days. My edits have been allowed to sit, festering; my mind has been occupied with other things, like family and new responsibilities and even – rather interestingly – the faint stirrings of enthusiasm for a new idea. Or, rather, a new way of doing an old idea, really.
Today, however – well. Today’s the day I need to crack on.
It’s hard not to feel guilty when my other duties take me away from what I see as my primary role – in other words, getting my edits inputted as smoothly, quickly and professionally as possible, and getting them back to my agent so that she can move my book to the next level, whether that means another round of edits or starting the publishing submission process. Bringing a book to publication is a hugely long, complicated and involved thing and it’s hard to balance the need for speed with the need for quality work, particularly when life insists on getting in the way.
I’ll manage, of course. As the old saying goes: ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person.’ I am rather busy, these days! Not complaining, of course. Would I ever complain? Sheesh.
But I have had a few days off, and the best way to assuage the guilt is to get right back on the job. Restarting, though – is there a harder thing? Kicking off your enthusiasm cold, trying to grind it up to working speed, building up a head of steam behind your motivation… it would be easier to climb the Eiffel Tower backwards, blindfolded, in a pair of stilettos.
It’s got to be done, though.
Opening up your computer file is the hardest part of the day, when you’re editing. It’s like a roller-coaster that has only one long drop – you climb and climb and climb up to the great precipice, where you teeter for a while before taking the (literal) plunge, and then it’s all whoosh to the finish. Well, not quite – there are a few small ups and downs along the way, perhaps – but the toughest part for me is definitely those few moments either side of clicking my file open and watching the MS, complete with my agent’s increasingly exasperated Track Changes, appear. It feels good, in a blisteringly painful way, to deal with each of the edits in turn and watch as the Track Changes bubble vanishes from the margin, and even though some of them haven’t been dealt with yet – they’re waiting for the second pass of edits, which I’m aiming to start before too long – I realised last week that I’m over the two-thirds completed point. That’s pretty good going. Better than that, though, is this: I’ve had a quick flick through to the end of the document, and the edits get thinner and less hair-pully from this point onwards. I think, without even realising it, I’ve slogged through the hardest part already.
And guess what?
I made it. I survived.
Okay, so maybe the fireworks are a bit premature. But you’ve got to love an optimist, right? They’re pre-emptive fireworks, which are (of course) the best kind.
Now. I’m off to make some coffee, friends, and then throw myself headlong into the day. Godspeed on your own endeavours – may they be mighty – and remember: we’ll get through it. All will be well. One step at a time.
See you all back here tomorrow for some Friday flash fiction!