Have you ever seen a movie or read a book about a prisoner who uses a spoon or other small implement to chip away their rock or cement prison and eventually escape? I was thinking about that the other day as I was editing Entangled LEREs and realized, that’s not how it feels editing the second book in the Incomplete States series.
It also doesn’t feel like I’m struggling to move the needle. Nor does it feel like I’m climbing a mountain or swimming an ocean.
It feels pretty damn good.
I miss writing like crazy each day, truly. I resent, too, that it’ll take sooooo looong before these novels will be published. By ‘sooooo looong’, I mean like months or more. Yes, I’m indulging in some hyperbole to expose my natural impatience.
I’m not good at this persistent, slow stuff. I eat fast, drive fast, think fast, and talk fast. I like doing things fast. I like being intense and immersed.
But, I’m enjoying this leisurely editing and revising. I’m reading other books as I edit, novels that are best sellers or prize winners, prizes like the Man Booker, Peabody, and Pulitzer, or books by authors who won a Nobel Prize for Literature. I used to avoid reading such lofty others while I’m writing or editing. Correcting myself, I used to avoid reading most published literature while I was reading and writing because I often felt that my writing could never achieve such heights, and it depressed and demoralized me.
I’m more confident about it now. While I still enjoy and admire the aforementioned sort of books, I’m not cringing from my efforts when I go back and forth between the two. More often, when I find something special by someone else that I’m reading, I pause to understand the passage’s impact on me and explore what the author did and how they did it, hoping that I can learn how to do it.
The process has helped. I can see improvement in my writing. I sometimes find beauty or insights in my work that startles me.
Like many writers, I’ve found that writing is a progression. With a little talent and heavy loads of persistence and determination, we can improve what we’re revealing and how it’s revealed as we tell the stories that flow through us. This progression shines in the editing process. Further away from the fiery crucible of creativity where the flow is so intense, I can apply the lessons that I perceive. I’m more mindful. While I’m doing this, my appreciation for the diverse processes of writing/creativity and writing/editing/revising increases. As with many facets of our existence, it’s a spectrum.
Of course, on the obverse of this coin, when I read portions of my earlier published works, I cringe. There’s a plan afoot to edit and revise some of that stuff stirring in my head. What’s that? Don’t look back? You might have a point.
Time to resume editing like crazy.