July 28, 2008
I Hate Revising
I asked Father Albert Haase, author of Coming Home to Your True Self, if he'd like to blog about writing. Apparently, I asked on a bad day.
Knowing how I am prone to exaggerate and also knowing I have a lunch meeting scheduled with another author at the end of the week about possibly collaborating on something, my editor didn´t flinch. It irritated me that she didn´t get on her knees, shed a couple of alligator tears, pull her hair, feign despair and beg me not to say such silly things.
I am so frustrated. Once it was a transition in chapter two. Then there was that goofy paragraph in chapter four. Now I´m told it´s all of chapter 5 that needs to be reconsidered, rethought and rewritten. Well, I have reconsidered it. I have rethought it. I have rewritten it. And they tell me it still ain´t right. And I´m just sick of it. I say: let´s just null and void the contract and call the project off.
I hate writing. I really do. I don´t know why I keep doing it. Well, maybe I do know why: there´s nothing like holding a published book and seeing your own name on the cover. It´s very gratifying even though no one at the local Christian bookstore or at Borders realizes that behind Cindy Kiple´s handsome cover and nicely chosen font and all those polite promotional blurbs (usually written by your friends!), lies hours and hours of sweat, frustration and research into Dante´s Inferno to find out where he placed book editors who are actually paid for doing something unchristian--telling you what you have done is not quite "up to snuff."
Of course, having a few books under my belt and knowing that some editor is going to scrutinize this to see if it´s "appropriate" for a blog, I also know the value of a demanding editor. I really do. My very first editor, who literally used up an entire red felt-tip pen to note required changes, taught me how to write like a writer instead of preach like a preacher. I would never, ever have been able to teach myself that technique without the dreadful task of revising a manuscript. I will be always indebted to Karen Hurley for that. And then there was Lisa who taught me the value and "classy look" of a well-placed semi-colon. "Punctuation can make a sentence sing," she told me - and it´s true! And then there was the "pit bull" (that was my nick-name for her!) who simply refused to let me get away with one throw-away sentence - much less throw-away word. She taught me that it really and truly pays off to agonize over just one word. So I am really grateful for tough editors, as much as their requests make me queasy.
It´s just that being hounded to reconsider, rethink and rewrite chapter five - and knowing it has to be completed in one week - will keep me pondering and fussing . . . when I just wish the manuscript would be completed.
I´ll keep that lunch appointment. And I will in all likelihood, attempt another book. But I won´t like the revising! And I will pray that the good Lord has mercy on my editor´s soul.
Addendum from the editor: This blog was written on Thursday. On Monday I received the revision of chapter five with the following note: "I got an idea for another book . . . I am getting to Mayslake Ministries REAL early tomorrow morning (Monday . . . around 7:30am at the latest) and I hope to steal 30 minutes to start an outline. I feel lots and lots of "energy" around the idea."
Now you know why I "didn't flinch" when the author suggested that he would never write another book. Sometimes if you just stay quiet things work themselves out.