Copy Edits

Okay, the content edits for Mill Pond 4 are over and done with.  My editor approved the book.  No more rewrites.  Now, I have the final draft to proofread for any small mistakes.  I like every process of writing EXCEPT this one.  So I put it off.  Not a brilliant thing to do.  I should have started it the same day the pages showed up on my front steps from Fed Ex. But did I mention that I really don’t like copy edits?  So I did everything I could think of to stall.  I’m great at procrastinating.  But I knew I still had plenty of time to get them done. Except time slips away, and now I have to finish them this weekend.

It’s not that copy edits are torturous or hard.  They’re not.  I’m the problem.   When I copy edit, I have to read every single word, look at commas, grammar, etc, and look for mistakes.  There aren’t many.  Kensington’s editors have caught most of them.  But I’m one of those people, who when I finish a book and have to look at it again, I can’t stand my own writing.  I read every sentence and think of a way that I could have done it better.

Thank heavens, I’m not allowed to change anything but mistakes, or I’d probably end up rewriting the entire book.  And when it was finished, and I copy edited that version, I wouldn’t like it either.  I’ll wish I was more lyrical, more descriptive.  I’ll compare myself to Elizabeth George and Alice Hoffman and come up short.  I’ll tell myself I’m no Neil Gaiman or Theodore Sturgeon.  Copy editing is always humbling for me.

A few years from now, when the book’s “rested” for a while, I might like it again.  Maybe. Maybe not.  But I’ve learned my moods and habits when it comes to writing.  And I know this is  normal–for me.  So I just have to sit butt in chair and go through the pages. Which I’m doing.  And when I get back to writing Book 5, I’ll like my writing again.  I’ll even like it when I do serious edits.  But when I can’t tinker with it anymore, when I’m just reading it for spelling and grammar, I’ll sneer at Book 5, too.  It’s the way I am.

Does any writer finish a book and not worry about how it fell short?  If there’s one of you out there, you’re lucky.  If you’re more like me, though, happy writing anyway!

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