I just submitted the third round of edits for Less Than Perfect. I’m pretty excited—not only because I think these are the last major edits, but because I believe, again, my story is awesome. I know not everyone will share my point of view and I know I’ll need thick skin come September when readers start posting comments. (We’re going to pretend people will buy and read it, and be sufficiently moved to comment, okay?) But it’s my story and I like it. I love it. And remembering that simple fact will help me maintain perspective.
It didn’t take long to write my first draft. Five days of three, four hour stints at laptop. I think it was about twenty thousand words. Not a bad effort—it won me a contract, after all. The second draft, a year later, didn’t actually take long either. Ten days of three, four hour stints at the laptop for about forty thousand words. Over a month passed between receipt of that first letter detailing the issues with my first draft and the submission of that second draft, however.
Some of that month was spent looking inspiration, definitely. I found some of it at the bottom of a paper bag, the one I used to keep from hyperventilating, and gained the rest from my friends—those who listened as I breathed, panicked and breathed. I spent another week thinking things through. Then I got to work and did what I needed to do.
About four days after I received the second pass edit letter from my editor, one of my friends observed a pattern. I apparently required a certain amount of time to flail and moan before thinking rationally. I don’t think I’m the only one, but my pattern is pretty distinct and it doesn’t only apply to writing. So, when I received this last set of edit notes, I just let it happen. I indulged in feelings of despair, regarded my manuscript with loathing and suspicion and wondered why, oh why, anyone ever tried to get published. I also stated, loudly if not somewhat plaintively, that I would never do this again.
Then I sat down and did what needed to be done.
I had to look up the saying about inspiration versus perspiration because I couldn’t remember which of the two claimed the greater part. It’s perspiration. In my case, it’s more like nine parts agitation, one part perspiration, which doesn’t make a good saying at all.