If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed I’ve been talking a lot about zombies lately. If you’re not a regular reader of this blog, um…what’s your problem? Get with the program, man.
You may have asked yourself, “Why is it that Albert has chosen this time to bombard us with pointless facts about fictional monsters?”
To which I say, “Pointless? POINTLESS!? You won’t think its very pointless when they’re ripping your guts out now will you?! Of all the ungrateful…”
No, wait. Sorry, got a little carried away there.
What I actually meant to say was that I am working on putting the finishing touches on an upcoming novella called, “A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw,” a story about a dog who faces the zombie apocalypse. I’m hoping to attract readers to the site who might have an interest in that kind of thing. (If you think the title sounds a little familiar, you’re not going crazy; the story was originally conceived as a shorter work which is available here for anyone who’s interested.)
I’ve been working on this thing for a while, first writing, then editing and polishing. And finally that moment came when…I had to let it out. I had to let someone else read it.
And not just anyone else, but someone who was going to look at my story and try to find something wrong with it. Someone who would rip it to shreds with a red pen. Someone who would attack its weak points and slash at anything that didn’t quite work. Someone who was going to take a chainsaw and carve up my precious baby in a spray of blood and shredded flesh.
In other words, an editor.
It wasn’t easy letting go. But I knew it had to be done. So I gritted my teeth, repeated Chuck Wendig’s “Do Better, Suck Less” mantra to myself twenty times, and hit that send button.
And then I realized I had forgotten to, you know, actually attach the document to the email, so I had to go through the whole process again.
When I finally got my story back…I was afraid open it. What awful things must this person have said about my work? But finally I did manage to take just a little peek. And then, maybe another page, and another and another, and…
Before I knew it I had blown through every page of that manuscript, checking changes and reading notes.
And let me tell you something. It was fun.
See, I had been spending all this time thinking that reading those edits would be a horrible experience. I thought for sure that those changes would be a blow to my ego. Because really, none of us like to be criticized. None of us like to hear, “This passage right here just doesn’t work.”
But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t all have to be negative. Not if you approach it the right way; not if you have the right editor.
In fact there’s something almost magical about looking at a change and thinking Yes! That does work better that way! Ha!
You need that extra pair of eyes. Someone who knows what to look for.
It’s not because you’re a horrible writer.
It’s because you’re way too close. Even after you’ve let it sit for months. Even after you’ve gone over and over it yourself until you’ve started to become nauseated by your own words.
It can be better.
So let go of that fear. Stop worrying about your ego. It isn’t important anyway.
What’s important is the story. In the end, it’s the only thing that matters.