Monday, February 5, 2018

Juggling...Or Not

I’ve decided there are only so many writing balls I can juggle at one time, and I think I have finally reached my limit. Usually, I write one story and edit another one. But for the past month, I’ve been editing two full manuscripts, polishing a third and doing galley proofs on a fourth. My head feels like it’s going to explode and my eyes are going to bug out of my face.

When I write, I get to disappear into the story, kind of like a viewer disappears into a movie or TV show. It’s fun and a bit like dreaming while being awake. It takes a while for me to join reality again, which can be frustrating for the rest of my family when they want me to do something or pay attention to them.

But when I edit, not only do I disappear into the story, but I have to analyze everything as I’m doing it. What would I feel if I were in this situation? How would I react? What would I do next? And sometimes, it’s figuring out the opposite of what I would do or think or feel, because after all, I’m not my characters.

Copyediting requires a different focus. I have to NOT disappear into the story, instead focusing on every word, every space and every piece of punctuation, making sure they’re all correct, nothing is missing and everything is in the right place. In fact, if I do it correctly, I shouldn’t have any idea what the story is about, because that isn’t the point of what I’m doing.

Although all of these things require a different type of focus, and in theory, should each provide a break from the other, doing too many of them at the same time is killing me. So in the future, I’m going to try to limit how many things I do at once.

Of course, I’m about as good at that as I am at being patient.

Also, hi, Zack!

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