I consider myself to be a decent writer. Above average even. I love writing, I write all the time, so I’m also a practiced writer. When I sent my book to my editor for developmental critique, I knew there’d be a lot of changes because I’d never written a book before. I wasn’t surprised at all when I needed help developing the plot or the main character arcs (and I continue to work on realistic dialogue). But, when I sent my book out to be proofread, I have to admit, I was a little more sure of myself. I thought that I’d miss a comma or two, a misspelling would be caught, that I’d get the occasional grammar rule wrong. But, I felt confident enough that it would just be a clean-up job, that it wouldn’t be a rewrite.
Today, I received my book back from the proofreader. At first, my eyes glazed over. When you have 91,000 words, even nominal changes add up. I had to check my ego and stop my tear ducts from activating to rationally think about what I was seeing. There were changes on every page, but ultimately they were exactly what I thought they would be. Changes to capitalizations or commas. Fixes to my use of quotation marks and pointing out a handful of awkward sentences. As my heart stopped racing and I started actually looking at what I was seeing, I realized they were do-able. Do-able changes to my book that I’ve finished and has now been proofread.
Then, I started panicking for a completely different reason. Because once I make these changes, my book is actually done and there are no more reasons to wait to query agents. Once I make these changes… I am done.
Take. A. Deep. Breath. Kel.
So yes, after regrouping and breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes, here are my goals:
That’s right my friends. I want to finally send this book out by the end of next week and I hope you will all help keep me accountable. I want my blog next week to be about the nervous fear coursing through my veins as I press the send button on query emails. And, I’m hoping you will all send positive thoughts my way as I deal with my nerves the next few days, with each correction bringing me one step closer to the realization of… I was going to say my dreams but that seems entirely too lofty. Each correction bringing me closer to my immediate goals. How about that?
And one last comment. If you are writing, and you don’t enlist a proofreader, I think you should. I could have been cocky and rested on my laurels and not had my book proofread. But, as I scan through the changes I have to make, I can only think how much I needed someone else to give it a hard look over. So, I humbly accept these changes, and will diligently go about making them, trying not to internalize all that that implies. (Should I use a double ‘that,’ here? Proofreader, where are you?)