I've been gone so long . . . sounds like a blues song, but it's just me feeling guilty. I've been editing, and I guess I just can't juggle too many brain projects at a time. But these were tough edits. I had to go over the first few chapters with a fine comb. I took things out, and put them back in, and took them out again. Last chapter--gone. Couple of opening scenes--gone. You won't miss them, but I will. Actually, once I decide to make a cut, I'm strangely emotionless about the whole thing. "Ah, that was easy." Well, anyway, I wouldn't make any cut if it wasn't the right thing to do. I think. Oh geez. Don't go back . . .
That's what is so hard about final edits: every change is so important, and so BIG.
One thing I figured out this round was that I do my best editing early in the morning. I'm prone to distractions, and since there are no talk shows, kids to take care of, dog wanting to be walked, food to snack on, housework to do . . . you get the point. There's none of that, and I find I can concentrate and actually focus on the work. I also made changes in how I work in the afternoon: no tv. No commitments. Everything can wait.
Taking notes helped a lot. When I began to stress out over things I had to change, I would take a million notes to release that anxiety.
I wrote this entry because I've had a deep shame with my bad editing habits. I honestly thought I would be like other writers and be able to recount every detail of my writing life. It hasn't been that way. Editing is not my happiest chore. And yet, I'm always, always grateful for the changes that come and my editor's suggestions. Like a mother, I know that any addition/fix is for the best. For that beautiful shiny cover, I can take all pain.