For the next several weeks, I’ll be wearing more than one hat. I’ll be a writer and an editor, both of which I normally consider myself to be. But I also have a project where I’ll be both writer and editor. For the next several weeks, I will be active in all three roles. Here’s what I mean:
Every week, usually on Thursday, I write my blog post that goes live on Friday mornings at 6 a.m. As a writer, I’m constantly alert to possible subjects to write about. And I write best when I have a deadline. There’s nothing like a deadline to kickstart motivation. You don’t have the luxury of “waiting for inspiration” or “suffering from writers’ block.”
With my self-imposed deadline, I need a topic every week. I usually know what I’m going to write about two weeks ahead, but I’m flexible enough to change whenever something happens that I want to write about. Only about half the blog posts are planned.
I often get my ideas about what to write between 2 and 4 a.m. on those nights when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. I’ll think of something, realize that it would make a great blog post, and have it half written before I get back to sleep. Sometimes these pass the “light of day” test the next morning. Sometimes they don’t.
I will continue to wear my writer’s hat during these next several weeks.
Last October, I was offered the opportunity to edit two novels for a publisher who is also a friend. I wanted to, but everything seemed to conspire against it.
The day I was going to look over the sample chapters and see if I was interested, was the first day of two days of power outages and then another couple days before we had Internet access. So, a delay of four days right at the get-go.
My plan was to read over and give an initial evaluation to determine if I was interested. If I was, then I would edit a few chapters of each to see how long it took. Then, I would take into consideration how many pages each book would have and the complexity involved, before coming up with what I would charge for each one.
After the power outages, I was able to come up with an initial evaluation, and decided that I would like to do both of them. But I had a busy week coming up. I would be participating in the Victorian Belles Holiday Sale at Three Rivers Casino. I had signed up ages ago, and it would be the only direct sales opportunity I would have this year for selling my books. So, from Wednesday through Sunday, I was tied up with that. The next week was Thanksgiving with cooking and sharing with neighbors and working two days at Backstreet Gallery. During those two weeks, I got nothing done regarding the two novels.
I did get started on what I call the preliminary editing the week after Thanksgiving, but my computer mouse kept acting weird. I recharged it and it still was causing trouble. It moved like it should, but the curser didn’t show––you had to guess where it was, extremely frustrating. Then my keyboard died. New batteries didn’t help. So, I went online and ordered a new one. By now, I felt the editing project might be jinxed.
It took nearly a week, but the new keyboard arrived. I set it up and realized that a couple keys on each side were different; I’m still adjusting to that. Then my desktop screen started doing strange things. It took another couple days for me to figure that one out. By now, I just knew the editing project was jinxed.
Finally, about a week into December, I was able to edit a few chapters of each manuscript and send to the publisher. After some emails back and forth, we signed a contract. Then I could start editing in earnest.
I actually got half of one book edited before I had to pause for Christmas activities. As an editor, you read very slowly and try to notice everything––does it make sense, does it fit with what has previously been said, is the sentence grammatically correct, is the punctuation correct, and so on. And then looking up words that may potentially need to be compounded or hyphenated—rear view or rear-view or rearview. (The third one is correct for rearview mirror.) And whenever I have a question as to grammar or punctuation, my trusty Chicago Manual of Style is always handy.
Even with the pandemic, I tried to have as normal a Christmas as possible, so it meant putting up a Christmas tree, shopping, wrapping presents, Christmas cards, baking, cooking, etc.
Then shortly after the holidays, Backstreet had its once-a-year all day meeting, where I took notes. I‘m the new secretary since November 1. I got them written, sent out the minutes in draft form to all the gallery owner/members, and many changes had to be made until they seemed to be acceptable to everyone. That took the better part of a week.
It was this week before I got back to editing one of the novels. My plan is to finish editing the first one by this coming Sunday. I have only five chapters left. Then I’ll be in contact with the author next week and hope to finish up the editing work on this first novel by the end of the month. That gives me one month to work on the second one. My deadline to finish both of them is March 1.
I’ll be in serious editor mode for the next several weeks.
Since deciding to put together another book, I’ve redone the first five chapters. This is something I’ve previously written, so I’m the writer. But since I’m giving it a serious edit before it goes to my publisher, I’m also the editor. Besides, editing, I’m beefing it up, I’m adding to each chapter. So, I’m not just the writer who wrote it originally six years ago, I’m also the writer who is adding to it now. Confusing, I know.
I’m really enjoying going through it, even though, it covers a period of my life that I would never want to relive. It’s the five-month period when I was on a journey through chemo in my battle against cancer. Although a serious subject, it does have a certain amount of humor, which makes it worth reading.
As I was working on the first few chapters, I was having trouble trying to figure out past and present as to how to tell it. Each blog post is talking about the present time, what was happening that week. But I’m now looking back. If I rewrite it as looking back, I have to do a lot of changing. That is what I was doing, and I didn’t like the way it was turning out.
About 3 a.m. one night, I was thinking through this problem and came to a very obvious solution. The next morning, it passed “the light of day” test. I will simply date each chapter the date that it was originally written. That way I can stay in the present of what was happening that week. A weight had lifted off my shoulders. Now, I’m back to being excited about it!
I want to have it available for sale at the Florence Festival of Books in September, if we’re able to have the festival this year. That means, I need to have my new manuscript and photos ready to send to my publisher by April.
I’ll be doing double duty as both editor and writer on this new book.
So, if I look a little distracted over the next several weeks, I have good reason. I’ll be wearing three hats!