When the book is written and all the words are there on the digital pages and they’re all glaring at you and you can’t help but think “What the hell did I ever do to you?”
Writing a book is pretty much like anything else; it’s a process. The more you do the process the better you get at it – theoretically at least. I always like to tell the kid’s Kenpo class “You’ll perform in a fight exactly like you practice.” And that right there is the rub. Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. It’s a honing process.
I was never taught how to write a book. My high school English teacher hated me. My college English teacher didn’t even bother to hide her disdain. My junior high English teacher was actually pretty good. It was her tutelage that I lean on when I write and it’s her words that I’m trying to hone. When I look back on learning about writing it’s her I look back on. Sadly, I don’t even remember her name. If, however, she ever stumbles across this post and remembers me out of the thousands of students she had, I’d just like to say, “Thank you.”
She taught me enough that I can string a few words together into something approaching a coherent sentence and with that foundation I’ve written a couple books that at least a few people thought were enjoyable. That’s a really big deal to me and it makes me extremely happy to know that I might have made the world a slightly better place. Albeit by writing about mysterious gods and oodles of killing.
It’s the little things in life that matter the most.
So, here I am. The Clock Man is written. All the words are there, but they’re still glaring at me because some of them are out of order, some of them aren’t the right words, and some of them are just generally in a pissy mood. Words are like that; they’re easily perturbed.
Now comes the editing part. I have a dysfunctional relationship with editing. On the one hand it’s a chance to read back through and realize it’s not quite as bad as I thought it was when I was writing it. On the other; there are those moments where I stop, scratch my head, and wonder just what the hell I was thinking when I wrote something. Thank God for friends. I passed The Clock Man off to a fellow writer and she came back with some excellent points.
Now all I’ve got to do is implement those points.
So, there comes this moment when all the words are there and they just need to be shuffled around. The book is done, but it’s not done done. Done done happens when all the words are there, they’re in the right order, and neatly formatted. Then the book will be done done. Right now, I’m only done. I’m looking forward to being done done. Once I’m done done, I can start writing again. I miss writing but editing is still an important part of the process. Someday there will come this moment when it will be done done.
And then the whole process will start all over again. 🙂