I really want to find a great quote or picture for this next post but nothing comes to mind to describe the meeting I had about editing. I can see you put a hand to your mouth to stifle a yawn and then clicking off to another planet on the web or at least someone else’s site that doesn’t bore you to tears.
But here I am, hat in hand, hoping you’ll stick around. I have no memorable quotes to reel off, no images to take your breath away. I can only describe in words, and even they seem to be failing me.
That’s how it is for this writer, sometimes, when I step back and realize I really am part of a great tapestry. Perhaps one that was woven before I came here. Now and then, I am allowed glimpses of the whole or parts of the whole and I step back in awe and feel rooted in this great weaving that is my life.
When you work at something you are committed to, with all your heart, for a very long time, it’s hard to see, day to day, that you are moving forward and not just pawing at the ground. Sometimes this decision to be a writer feels very pale and slim. A little wan.
Then something happens that elevates the experience and makes all the nerve endings in your body feel like they are launching fireworks and it’s time to break out the champagne.
I met a woman in my French class a few years ago and we became good friends. She is a like-mind, meaning we just see things the same way. I know she loves to read so I asked her to read my third novel to see if the plot had any holes in it, (because when I finish a first draft it’s like holding up a really old mosquito netting).
When she came to return my story, she said it the only way she could. “The writing could be better.” I was devastated. It took a month for me to realize she had nothing but good intentions toward me and only hoped I would let her help.
As a writer you really don’t ever want to hear that your writing could be better. That’s the one thing you take for granted. But we shouldn’t. And that’s what I decided. No matter how hard I’ve worked on a manuscript, I could still work harder, I could still be better. And because I don’t want you to think I’m a bit lazy-daisy writer, who has it all figured out (because I most certainly don’t) I decided to take my friend up on her offer to help because she is good at editing.
A good editor isn’t interested in plot, or changing around your ending, or even telling you what they think of your story. Of course you want them to like it, and fawn over you with compliments, but a truly great editor will tell you how it is, with no b.s.
When Charlotte and I met today, it was to embark on a new contract. To lay the guidelines for how we will work together. Honestly, I feel excited beyond belief, because the universe is giving me a gift and at first, my ego took the hit. Then I realized I want to better with every book. And when you meet someone that wants to make that happen, well you say thank you and when can we start?
PS I got the quote. Steve Jobs “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future.”