Starting the Last Round of Edits

I’ll tell you straight up–I’m terrified.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what, but I’m glad I gave myself a goal and am just chugging towards it, because otherwise I think I might just sit here and talk myself out of things.

K., as I knew she would, just fucking got into it with the manuscript, finding typos and bad word-choice and places where the subject and verb don’t agree and so on and so on. And it’s a lot, but it’s not too much, you know.

But I do feel like I’m going to throw up. I’ve been trying to put a name to it. Do I think it sucks? No. I like it. Am I worried other people will think it sucks? Yeah, but I also am not sure “I didn’t like it” is the end of a statement on a book. I mean, I really didn’t like Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut and I am still thinking about it and still ranting angrily about it to friends and still think it’s exquisitely written. I think that book is a smashing success that really pisses me off. I have half a mind to email him and demand answers.

I read it a year ago!

Good lord, what’s “I didn’t like it” in the face of “I wrote something that’s going to make you angry for a year?”

You know what I’m getting at?

And here’s the thing–I have this terror, this driving fear saying “Oh, go ahead and turn on the TV instead” and when I try to figure out what’s behind that terror, I can’t really put my finger on it.

Just that, once I’m done with this, the next step is to hope people I don’t know think it would work as a salable book.

And that scares me.

7 thoughts on “Starting the Last Round of Edits

  1. I had to write a three-sentence “here’s what my mss is about” to someone at OUP today. It took me about thirty minutes and two bouts of shaky nausea. I know my almost-book doesn’t suck. I just don’t know how strangers are going to treat it (or me) when it gets fully out of my head and into their hands. I’m hoping this is a normal fear, but even if it’s not, I’m going to march on anyhow.

  2. Let me just suggest that what will happen is this: Some of those strangers will get it and some won’t. The good news is: you don’t need them all. And if you didn’t in your heart of hearts figure there are some that would, you never would have had the audacity to go ahead and write–as you do with this blog here, for instance, all the time. There’s risk in doing things. But see, you’ve got talent, so your odds are increased. You’ll get your yeses–and that tends to make going on more inviting. You’ll probably get a no bhere and there, too–which goes with the territory.
    It could be worse; you could be in sales, where they have to take no for an answer most all of the time.

  3. Bridgett, I think it must be a normal fear. Even if it’s not a normal fear, it’s still a fear I have and I just want to acknowledge it and move through it. OUP would be an interesting fit for your book (I know some people say “interesting” when they mean “terrible” but I mean it in the sense of “Oh, yeah, they have some good ways of really exploiting the strengths of your book.”).

    Barry, thanks. Truly, thank you.

  4. The OUP thing sort of happened in the course of me reviewing another book for them and the editor asked “so, what are you working on? We’re looking for mss right now….” It was more in the line of academic pleasantries than really trying to hawk my wares; still, have to figure out how to get on that horse at some point, so I took it as an opportunity to practice.

    Anyhow, sorry for “me tooing.”

  5. Are you kidding?! I need the “me tooing!” Just hearing that it’s something other people go through make it feel like a natural stage and not a sign I should stop and take up knitting instead.

  6. B, I struggled for an entire day to write my own LinkedIn profile thingy. I knew writing was an endeavor… but I hadn’t sat to write something in a very long time – that had to sound really professional. So my hats off to you and the others — I am profoundly glad that the stuff I do is visual and open to interpretation. The literal stuff, not so much.

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