That’s another thing that happened, and it was intense. I had to shift my school schedule over into the weekend, which mentally doesn’t work so well for me, but the things we do when we have a deadline of last Thursday night. I actually didn’t make it and ended up sending it just a few hours over into Friday morning, but I kicked my butt trying to get it in on time.
I learned a few more things about myself during these final line edits of Cry Wolf.
I learned that by the end of the whole editing process – my edits, the official edits, and the final line edits – I have serious story fatigue. By this time, I have read the story at leave five times, sometimes more, and all in the course of a month. I haven’t read Winter Howl since I turned it in to my editor over a year ago. Part of that is because I don’t want to encounter a mistake, but the other part is that I’m just supersaturated with it, and I expect a similar reaction to Cry Wolf, although I like it and my MC, Kelly. I will have to read over both of them before I write Call for Blood, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I learned that I never turn off the editor or turn its intensity down. If I’m in editor mode, I’m always seeking to making it as good as I can. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does make me feel bad for my editor, because I sent my final line edit in with almost the same amount of red as I sent in the main edit, and that’s not how it’s supposed to work. But by the time I get to the final line edit, that’s when the anxiety ramps up to a ten, because that’s it. After I turn in the FLE, I have no authorial control over the product.
I knew before that I was a control freak. This is just another way in which that rears its head. The primary red tracking changes in the FLE were cuts and moving info around while I did a fast read-through to get a sense of how everything flowed in realtime. I just hope my editor doesn’t hate me, but I need to make sure it’s the best it can be before I let it go. My goal is to get to the point where I’m doing most of those cuts in my edit and the main edit, not the FLE where it simply doesn’t belong. And it’s annoying, because every time I turn it in, I think it’s ready, but then I get another read and realize there’s still some cosmetic surgery. I think I just need to accept that there will always be things that I can fix forever, but I eventually need to let my baby go.
I think the most important thing that I learned that’s relevant to taking care of myself emotionally and mentally is that while I love editing, it comes out of a different place in my head. I can stress myself to burnout when I’m writing, but I get more out of that stress because it’s creative. Whereas editing, in a way, is destructive. It’s more the work side of writing. I like doing it, but it’s going to take more out of me than I get out of it.
I need to remember this and take care of myself accordingly, because when I was through trying desperately to meet the deadline and make sure Cry Wolf was perfect at the same time, I strung myself out. And I was already not in the best place emotionally. I turned it in as polished as I could, but at that point, I was convinced that Cry Wolf was falling apart around me and no longer made sense, that it wasn’t good. I’m still not sure and can’t trust my judgment on it right now with the story fatigue and emotional fatigue going on – I just have to tell myself that I enjoyed the story every time I read it, no matter how weary I became, laughed in places, squirmed in places, and loved Kelly the whole way through. All those are very good signs.
I did have a dream a few nights ago that I’d received an aggressively ambivalent review of Winter Howl, just a strongly worded review about how meh and amateur and inadequate the story was, such a middling story. I think that about covers my insecurities at this point. I’m sure I’ll calm down in a few weeks when the book goes out on early release, and I can’t emphasize enough that I like the story when I’m in it. I’m just tired, and not pushing myself too much with my next project – at least not right away.