This is what a professionally edited manuscript looks like. All those lovely colored little tabs await some attention . . .
It returned to my porch step a little over a month ago. I’ve been peeking and pecking, and thinking, and rethinking on it mostly from a distance at this point. I’ve done a little junk word cleanup, but nothing radical—yet.
I’ve got a block of time approaching very soon that has been reserved for serious focus work on it and I am looking forward to that, but today I had the good fortune to have breakfast with a friend who writes poetry, and I believe The Edit God sent her to me.
She was positively enthralled to look through the ‘script and the editor’s notes and asked questions, and we lost ourselves to discussing the things of writing novels and editing. She’d attended the Book Fest in Iowa City this past weekend and now wants to try her hand at a novel—just to see what it’s like.
When she asked how much I’ve done so far, I told her it was limited work, and then outlined my upcoming plans, to which she replied, “So—you really don’t think you can find one hour in each day right now to work on some of this before then?”
Ahhh . . . well . . . uhmmmm . . . Whooo-Ahhhh!!!
It’s not like I’ve been lying around in the hammock reading romance novels and munching peanuts, and she does know this, but she made a valid point and I knew it the minute she said it. This was not intended to invalidate any of my on-going efforts for the column writing that I work at every week (usually daily), or the new short story work that I submitted to a magazine on impulse yesterday when the idea hit me over the head as I reviewed my current submissions tracking list and various other administrative checkpoints that I maintain. Very little grass grows between these writing fingers.
But isn’t it funny how even those of us who have the best of intentions still need our keisters kicked once in a while?
None of what I’d intended to clear out of my way this afternoon got done—except for the watering. It’s hotter than hell in Iowa right now and I am not about to lose all of my hard work outside. Two sprinklers that I took breaks to move around at 1-hour intervals did their job while I did mine, and I have many happy plants and three solid hours of edit work accomplished for today.
It looks like I’m free now to pay bills, balance the checkbook and clear away my office this evening, huh?
Allow me to make a suggestion:
Get yourself a timer, and set it for 60 minutes—and then get to work. You will not believe how fast that 60 minutes really goes.
And if you don’t believe me, consider reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.