In case you haven’t noticed, writers tend to freak out a lot. Good books, bad books, revisions, story ideas – you name it, we can find a way to freak out about it. I had a great reason to freak out this weekend. Pre-sending-to-beta-readers, I was formatting scene breaks and discovered that the end of one scene led right into…not the correct follow-up scene. I was missing three whole scenes.
I’ve been doing a lot of cutting and revisions, so I knew I had them somewhere. I hadn’t pasted them in, and then I had to track them down in a previous draft . They were only partly polished.
*cue hysterical laughter*
I hope the people in the coffee shop enjoyed the pained faces I was making at my computer screen.
I had a choice: postpone my entire writing schedule and go back into cutting and revisions, or send that version, as planned, to my beta readers. I shrugged, thought, “Eh, it’ll be fine,” and sent it off.
And then I freaked out. What if they hate it? What if that whole last part is confusing because of those three dumb scenes? Oh, man, I should tell them not to read it. I’ll bet I can speed edit a lot of it, and re-attach a new version tomorrow. No, I’m too busy tomorrow…Monday? No… mid-July. OK, OK, I’ll leave it. I needed some editing direction in the last third anyway. It’ll be fine. Fine. …………OH MY GOSH WHAT IF THEY HATE IT???
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what goes through a writer’s head every day. Fear -> logic -> confidence -> acceptance -> fear. It’s an ugly cycle. Now I’m stuck in this weird limbo between “You need to know where to focus edits, anyway” and “But it wasn’t my best!”
I need to remember that to me, nothing will ever be perfect. There will always be something to tweak or move or delete – but that doesn’t mean readers will feel the same way. I think it’s important for me, especially, to hear how people feel about this draft before I make any other changes. I’ll just keep freaking out about it, but more quietly.
What have you freaked out about lately?
In case you couldn’t tell, Michelle is one of those weird people who sets a strict writing/editing schedule – here’s to querying agents by the end of summer!