I Apologize for my Mood While Editing
Confession: editing makes me grumpy. Or, at least according to my fourteen-year-old’s “accidental” Christmas gift to me.
Okay, perhaps I need to back up and explain myself. Here’s what happened…
First of all, I’ve come to know that I love deep work. I loathe distractions. This became even more evident to me as I recently edited my second novel. When I received my editor’s notes in early December, I was equally excited to dig in and curious as to how I would turn around revisions in two months’ time…with the holidays in there, the kids being on break, and a houseguest for most of that time.
I’m happy to report that I did the hard work. I cut over 10,000 words from one section only to create 10,000 new words in more strategically important areas of the book. I quickened the pace. Got to the inciting incident sooner. Deepened the main character’s desire and drive. Created an entirely new character. Cut chapters. Added new ones. Tweaked the prologue. Revised the ending. And overall, I limped to the finish line three days ahead of schedule, dizzy from being hyper focused.
Holding a world inside your head and trying to discern what belongs on the page and what should remain tucked away in the recesses of your mind, is no simple task. Which is where deep work comes in. I love when hours can slip away unnoticed because I’m so focused on the writing at hand. But the truth is, those moments don’t happen as often as I’d like. I have kids who need things. Dogs who request attention in the middle of the work day. Emails that need replies. A book launch approaching that requires effort. A body that demands food, drink and exercise.
This is where the gift comes in.
This year, my fourteen-year-old went shopping on her own to pick out gifts for us. It was so sweet and generous of her. She was excited for us to open our gifts on Christmas morning. She knows I love 80s nostalgia from my childhood. While she had hoped to get me a full-size Pound Puppy which I always wanted but never had, she had to go with a back-up plan when Target sold out. But, she found something else that she thought I’d love: a Care Bears shirt.
Care Bears? Yes! Please! I loved those bears as a kid and they still hold a special place in my heart. But what she hadn’t noticed when she picked up the gift was what the shirt said. She had been too focused on the bears to notice the words.
I pulled that shirt out of the package on Christmas morning, smiling at her thoughtfulness and pleased to see those delightful bears. It took me a minute to read it and when I did, I laughed. I laughed so hard. I was doubled over. Tears in my eyes. Stomach hurting. What did it say?
Careful, I’m grumpy.
A bit unintentionally, the gift was even more perfect than she had intended. Leading into Christmas, I’ll admit, I was grumpy. I was struggling to hold that book world in my head, to give the attention needed to my manuscript, while doing all that comes along with life. Add to that flurry of the holidays and all the added demands and expectations, and, like it or not, I had my grumpy moments. More than I’d like to admit. Some that I tucked inside and tempered so others (hopefully) didn’t notice.
I’m happy to report that edits are now turned in. But, of course, other work and life needs still demand my attention. Now when I find myself in those moments, I have a shirt I can wear, as perhaps an attempt at lightheartedness…or a warning to those around me.
I have great news: my historical fiction novel will be available March 28, 2023! Don’t miss news about THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL. Subscribe to Read. Write. Ruminate. A newsletter with three thoughts. You’ll receive periodical updates, sneak peeks, giveaways & behind-the-scene stories of my journey to becoming a debut author.