posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 5:59 PM
On Book Authoring (for the first time), part 3
The (understated) lesson of the last couple weeks is: Your first professional edit is no fun.
My initial reaction to the email was "They're firing me?" (They weren't.) It evoked a cacophony of emotions - few of them comforting. It was a challenge to the ego, professional adequacy, and definitely my writing ability. I was afraid of failure, ticked because of all the time I'd put into it only to receive such a critical response, and worried about how I would explain this to folks I'd already told, "I'm writing a couple chapters in a book." That email was all this and more.
And it was accurate.
You've read the articles and heard the stories of now-published authors recalling their pre-publication days. The recollections are usually peppered with anecdotes of how they were turned down at publisher after publisher, only to persevere until being accepted by someone, finally. It's that kind of work. And while it's merely a matter of hindsight for them to repeat their story in the present, I will, from now on, understand that look in their eye as they recall those days.
This is work, folks.
I am fortunate - very fortunate - to be on a team of writers led by someone who's been there and done that many times. The mentoring I'm receiving has kept me sane. Honestly, I do not see how anyone does this the first time - but for me, it would be impossible without the leadership and example of this fellow.
Development edits are due - I'm back to it.