Thursday, 9 August 2012

What am I doing?

A wee sleekie beastie

Editing my novel Covenant is both a joy and a burden. It must be a little like competing in an Olympic event and knowing that you can't win the gold. Not unless they award it for the most flagrant, abuse, of commas. 

And, as it'll be a self-published work, I already know that quality control will be spelt with a small 'q'. Or possibly a 'kw'. Not for want of trying, you understanding, but - like Dirty Harry said - a man's got to know his limitations.

I take a break from strimming back chapter five and make myself some crackers. And when I say 'make' I mean remove them from the packet and put butter on them. I know - lunch for dummies.

Anne has seen me in this frame of mind enough times not to rise to the bait. "How's it going?" is about the most she'll intrude into my private battleground.

However, eager for distraction, I ask her which three things she dislikes about living with a writer and which three things (from the many!) she likes the best.

And I quote...

Dislikes

1. That I spent so much time up there in the attic, immersed in my own world.

2. That financial stability is just another fictional character in my creative repertoire.

3. That I can be a moody sod (to be fair, that's more me than the writing). If the writing has reached a stodgy patch there's no moving me back into the real world. Whereas, if things are going well, I'm like a child who has eaten three candyflosses (never try this at home) and then been given a quad bike to play with. In the house.

Likes

1. It's nice that she has time to herself, to do her own creative things.

2. I sometimes have free time during the day, when the weather is good. That is, if she can prise me from the screen (see good days and bad days above). And she certainly sees more of me than my days in proj man when I spent far more waking hours at my desk than away from it (I probably still have a spreadsheet on that, somewhere.)

3. Erm...that's about it. Seriously. She couldn't come up with a third item. Methinks this is not a good sign.


As the great Rabbie Burns* said in his poem, To a Louse:
O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.

Sometimes the writer's life doesn't feel real to me. And that's regardless on whether I'm experiencing success or defeat. We create in isolation and the editing process is also a solo affair until we get an editor on board. 

It helps to remember, sometimes, that there is more to us than writing. And while we benefit from all the virtual and actual writing groups and communities out there, it's important to place writing in the wider context of a life well lived.

And even once we get our work out there there are challenges aplenty. Nicola Morgan, in her oft-visited blog, Help! I Need a Publisher! pretty much nails it for me in this blog post about where she draws the line regarding book promotion:



So, what keeps your feet safely on the ground and which line won't you cross?


* Anne is Scottish so it seemed only fitting.

2 comments:

Chloe said...

That made me laugh - kwality kontroll. Ha!

I suspect you've got a lot of people on your case anyway, but if not, let me know if I can help. I don't have time to do a detailed proofread (nor the observational skills). But I could read it through and just check for the obvious mistakes that you can't see because you've read it so many times!

Derek said...

Thanks Chloe, although - as warned - the words 'shard' and 'myriad' appear. Pyramid too!