Ok, so it’s actually January 21st. Moving along…
I’ll start today’s blog with a confession. I’m an idiot. There, I said it. Now let me take it back since I’m done being my own worst critic, for the moment. I’m not an idiot, I just care. Let me explain…
I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday and because I thought I was sounding snarky, I didn’t want to blog about it. I do that. Come on here, type-type-type and hit delete because sometimes I really should keep my mouth shut and not hit ‘post’. In this case? Nope! Changed my mind! It’s not snarky. It’s the truth and it’s how I personally feel about it. Here goes!
Two weeks ago the man who signs my paycheck at the day job went into the hospital. He’s still there and the outcome is uncertain. To say the situation as a whole is tearing up my nerves a bit is like the understatement of the decade. When my nerves are frayed and I’m unable to focus to write, I research the industry to death. I read and reread sites like The Absolute Write Water Cooler, Writer Beware , and my personal hero, Terrible Minds – Chuck Wendig. I do this because I want to know everything I can about everything. Publishers, agents, writing advice, who is starting a new imprint or expanding distribution, everything. An impossible task, but I’m damned well going to try.
One link led to another and I ended up somewhere new, not at the above mentioned links, and in my state of wrecked nerves I see where someone says that grammar and basic writing rules, arcs, plot holes, etc., “those things”, don’t matter as long as readers like the story in the end. And they were serious. And they had supporters.
My head rotated and green shit splattered on the walls.
If all of that didn’t matter, I’d have had my file open and been up to my eyeballs in everything I needed to work on instead of taking that hectic time and educating myself about the industry and the craft in general. I could barely form a coherant sentence to blog at that point, much less edit, but, hey! “Those things” don’t matter, so why was I wasting time waiting until I could focus to write? Hell, I may as well have just sent this puppy straight to Penguin right then, because it doesn’t matter!
Thank gods, I didn’t.
It matters, people. It really does. After twenty-plus years of writing I’m so far, far from perfect in my own literary skills, but I know “those things” matter and I will never stop trying to improve. I’ve been working on this book, specifically, since May 2010 and I’m now half bald because it matters. I’ve just today finished reading over my MS from start to finish and *BLAH*, in my opinion, what a wreck of a mess it is! Sure, my beta reader liked it, but I didn’t ask for her editorial opinion, I wanted to know if the story flew well enough. It flies, but it has a gimpy wing and it needs work. This book will not be finished in a year’s time – not a month, a year – because it matters. So, for five minutes I’m calling myself an idiot and I’m moving on, back into the trenches. Because it matters and because I care about “those things”, I won’t be just blindly tossing the MS out there. And neither should anyone else.
Have I mentioned that “remove from device” is my favorite feature on my Kindle? No? Hmm… another blog.
You know, I may never get published. I may never get a snazzy blurb for the cover of my book from one of my heroes. (Don’t worry, Anne, I’d never ask YOU, ha-ha). I may never be anything more than some chick who thought she could write a book. If that does turn out to be the case, it won’t be because I willfully and stupidly thumbed my nose at what matters the most and didn’t bother to try.
It’ll be because no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times I stalked Grammar Girl in my spare time, I’m really just an untalented hack.
That’s something I can live with.