So maybe I should be paying you by the hour.
That probably seems like it came out of nowhere. I should probably give you some backstory and context. This past year was the hardest year for writing since I started writing. Think of these next three paragraphs as the “before” picture.
Typically, the lifecycle of me writing a book goes like this: First draft in four to six months. A month-ish of researching and trying to figure out what I’ll write next. Two to four weeks of red pen and paper editing, followed by an equal amount of time putting those edits into the computer and making more edits as I do—all the while asking people if they want to be peer readers and give me some criticism.
Next, I send out copies to those peer readers, who keep it for a month or so. After which I read through all their notes and criticisms and suggestions and the occasional raving, and start to incorporate their input into revisions, cursing myself for every typo they discovered that I should’ve caught.
And BOOM—it’s a book that I must convince an agent to represent all the way to a book deal, followed by money, fame, and maybe a cool bronze statue in a park or library front lawn. Trip to the shrink for my delusion and in eight to 10 months, I have a manuscript.
Until last year, when a wrench got thrown into the works. And by wrench, I mean a scalpel, bone saw, rib spreaders, and tubes shoved into newly cut orifices … or is it orifi? Physical trauma, painkillers and other drugs—including insulin injections to help my body get over all that freakin’ surgery—and recovery all took a toll on my ability to write.
For months, my brain didn’t belong to me anymore. My already diseased eyes developed a new glitch that made it harder to read … still. Then there were the reactions to medication, the longer recovery than I expected, the funerals, the former friends who got so caught up in their own drama that they no longer had time to be part of mine.
It took me so much longer than it ever took to finish that first draft. Nine months if it was a day. I lost my regular peer readers and of the “replacements” I found, only one had anything useful to say. One guy just said it wasn’t for him after several weeks and decided he didn’t want to give me any notes.
Long story short, my “process” wasn’t processing anything.
My gift, my raison d’etre, my joie de vie, my other phrases in other languages had become so much roadkill.
…a few days ago…
…something incredible happened.
Remind me to tell you about it sometime. I’m out of words for this blog.