I’m feeling like the proverbial broken record today. Every week is a refrain of “still editing, but it’s going pretty well.” This week is no different. I’m still editing and it’s still going pretty well. I suspect that next week I’ll still be editing, and it will still be going pretty well. I predict that will be the case for many weeks, unless it suddenly becomes “I’m depressed, no editing this week.” I guess that given the options, “still editing, but it’s going pretty well” is my preference, but just the same, there’s a bit of frustration gnawing at my edges.

I had a realization this week that was, in hindsight, very obvious, but I hadn’t consciously thought about: once this round of edits/rewrites is done, I’ll have to do another. These rewrites are massive and they need to be reviewed too. I can’t just write them and call it done; they’re a first draft of those sections.

Now, to be clear, I still love my book and want to put in the work to make it good. That hasn’t changed in the slightest. But there is definitely a bit of resignation in my internal voice when it says “yeah, we are going to have to go through this at least one more time.” Of course, I tell myself the next round will be relatively minor compared to what I’m doing now. My writing group comments on the new sections are minimal and I feel good about them myself. But there are still comments and there are still things that need fixing.

My brain has been kind in slowing down the pace at which I’m getting new ideas for other stories, so at least there’s not a rapidly-growing backlog in my mind clawing for their chance at the page. It’s nice to not have that additional pressure weighing on me as I realize there’s still another round of edits to come. But I do have a few ideas for next works, including the rest of this trilogy, and part of me does want to be exploring new ideas.

I even feel a little frustration from my characters. They’re getting impatient at running through the same scenarios, or different scenarios but the overall journey is the same, and they want to move on to the next part of the story too. They’re doing what I ask them in these rewrites, but there’s this sense of mental foot-tapping as they go through these motions for the umpteenth time. And yes, it’s easy to say that their impatience is just my own reflected back at me, but my characters are as real to me as most people are, so it feels like the outside pressure of other people asking if I’m done yet. That sounds a little crazy when I say it, but it’s true nonetheless.

And somehow, despite all this I still love what I’m doing and wish I could do it more, so I’m having this additional frustration at my so-called real job. My time and energy are leeched away to do tasks that, in my personal grand scheme of things, are essentially meaningless. I pour hours into doing things that are not for me, to the detriment of a thing I truly love and desperately want to pour more time into. While it doesn’t take much to make me rail at the state of society at the best of times, this really isn’t helping. I feel this clawing need to use my time the way I want, on the things I deem important, but I can do nothing about it because I’ve got bills that need paying. Just like everyone else, I know.

But the good news is I persist despite the frustration. I am nothing if not stubborn when it comes to fighting off bad feelings trying to drag me down. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light Thomas said, and I always do. Job or no, frustrations or no, infinite rounds of editing or no, I’m going to finish this book. Time to rage and go do some more rewrites.

2 thoughts on “Broken Records and Rage

  1. James

    Definitely feel you with that “editing and knowing you’re going to have to edit this section again” thing. It’s mind numbing sometimes, isn’t it?

    1. Erin

      It truly is! It would be better if I hadn’t already done 2 rounds of edits. While the first 2 rounds were very minimal changes, it was still work, and the work going into this third round dwarfs them. It’s just hard to consider doing it all again. I tell myself the 2nd book will be easier because I’ve learned so much on this one.

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