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Writing 70749: The Love Hate Love Relationship

Today, for the first time, I had the chance to hold my 5th book in my hands, fondly known by the publisher as 70749.  I can’t exactly tell you the dates and times of my other 4 books where I had that exact experience; however, I can tell you how I felt. The feeling was the same as today:

love.

Writing books is a lot like being in one of those ‘significant other’ relationships.  Some days are really great; some days, bluntly, suck.  When you’re writing a book, at first, the idea is like a fuel that gets you fired up. You are excited.  You love the process.  You finish the first draft; you rearrange, and then, in my opinion, the ‘hate’ part comes.

You have to edit.  You have to listen to critiques from others.  You have to tweak, bend, twist and cajole the words to fit the way you want them to be in the sentence, in the paragraph, on the page, in the chapter. It’s a dirty, inexact, ugly process.  It is maddening and frustrating…especially for someone who has spent a career trying to get things near the “p” word: perfect.

Then, the galley edits come.  They are even worse.  It becomes a matter of splitting hairs…minutiae. Tedium.  Coupled with a new paranoia…did you run the spell checker?  What about the sentence structure? Do you have a noun and a verb in the sentence?  Should that text be italicized, underlined, bolded, or all of the above?

Do you, really, at this point, care?!?  After losing your cool, you give up and turn the *!@n thing in.

Lastly, a week or two later, the copy comes.  It just shows up on your doorstep one day, when you almost forgot that you had a book out there that you were waiting on to be finished, in the most unassuming, bland, brown cardboard package.  You tear it open, giddy as a kid on Christmas morning, and all the love – the fuel that got you started in the first place with the idea of the book – that love comes rushing back.

Those of you who know me know that my modus operandi isn’t exactly touchy feely, but I do have a soft spot for books…yes mine, but ALL books.  I love books.  Books take us to other places, show us different ways of thinking, and bring us new ideas.  And, despite my hatred of editing, tedium, and criticism, in the end, the love prevails.

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