Sunday, September 12, 2010

Doubts beget doubts

I’m 16 minutes late starting this. I had set my goal to start a journal entry/blog post at 10 am, to give me enough time to complete it before going on walk to the beach with friends. And what I managed to do was find a few distractions causing me to miss my start time. And the distractions were: putting away the folded laundry, cleaning the bathroom sinks, making the bed, putting away the purse and shoes I wore to dinner last night, taking the sneakers out of the washing machine. All of those things could have waited, but I wanted everything done just in case our guests gaze around our house. I don’t want them to catch a glimpse of a mess somewhere. That’s how I am. I always have to have things just so before anyone comes over.

And that’s at the expense of my writing time. Sure I know it’s only 16 minutes, but a lot of 16 minutes could add up to a lot of time over the long haul.

Right now I’m feeling pressed for time. It’s September 12, and my deadline is to have the book in my publisher’s hands by October 31. And before I send it off I want it copy edited and merged into one document – for my convenience as well as hers, so I have to lop off a week at the end to do that. So, right now I think I have a scant 5 weeks left. And, so, every 16 minutes counts.

So far I think I’ve made pretty good progress. I have three chapters to go to complete my second revision pass through the book. That means I’ll have revisited all the partss I felt were repetitious, I’ll have fixed any inconsistencies, and I’ll have reread the sentences and fixed any wording problems.

But, that’s not the end of it. Yesterday while I was rereading Chapter 12 I kept thinking that it was in the wrong place. It seemed like I was backtracking. I got up and went to my storyboard wall and took a look around – thank goodness for the storyboards, and I’ve pretty much decided to move Chapter 12 to just before Chapter 8. Then if I do that, I have to think about what impact it will have on the rest of the flow of the book. Just a few weeks ago I was so sure I had the chapter sequence correct, and now I’m in doubt again.

Is this usual?
Do other authors feel this way?
Please tell my your concerns.
I’m new at this and needless to say I need some good advice. Hopefully, when Marlene comes over on Tuesday and walks the wall with me she’ll be able to help.

But, you know one doubt begets another. Now I worry that I’m fulfilling all of things I said I’d do in my revision plan. So I have to go back and check. I also have to make sure that I’ve added all the new material I developed, first making sure that that material is still relevant. I’m beginning to feel there is no end in sight.

One thing I’ve learned from my long career on proposals and reports in the aerospace industry. When there is a deadline, there is an end. I used to be the one to tell people they had so many days until pens down. And I can remember all the moaning and groaning when that pens down day finally arrived. Authors never want to stop with the changing and editing, and I’m finding out that I’m no exception. I’ll probably be thinking of ways to change the book way after it’s been published and selling like hot cakes off bookstore shelves. (I’ve got to keep thinking positive about that, right?)

Anyway, in the next five weeks I plan to finally get it all done and get it done right.

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