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Editing My Book is Taking Much Longer Than Anticipated.

In case you missed my earlier announcement, I finished writing my book last weekend. I’m really proud and have a huge sense accomplishment for completing such a project. I’d planned to dive right into the editing and have the book to my beta readers this week. Plans changed.

I did start my editing, but I had to put it away for a few days. The ambitious schedule I set for myself was delayed by a horrible sinus infection that required medical attention. The right side of my face swelled up three times its normal size. I couldn’t wear my glasses because my right cheek pushed them up too high. I had trouble eating because my mouth would barely open due to the swelling. I had trouble concentrating due to the pain. I was a mess.

I felt horrible, but let’s not forget how bad I looked. I was at the pharmacy waiting for my medicine when I heard a little girl ask, “Mommy, what’s wrong with that lady’s face?” I looked up, and the kid was pointing right at me. Young children have no filter. I completely understand that. Her question made me realize that everyone who saw me knew that something was horribly wrong.

I’ve had a week of antibiotics, steroids, and decongestant. I’m finally back to my old self and hitting the keyboard hard today. I’ve already gone through my manuscript once and corrected small things. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered some major problems with my timeline. For example, I have my main character meeting her love interest one weekend and then making a commitment to him the next. This is a problem.

See, early in my writing process I decided that I didn’t like where my book was headed, so I committed a terrible writer sin. I deleted 60 pages. I apparently never replaced them and just forged ahead. Now, I have to go back and write all of the getting to know each other stuff again.

I knew it was a mistake a few days later. I checked my trash bin when I came to my senses, but it had already been emptied. I shared my computer with husband back then, and he liked emptying the trash. He knows better now.

I went to that month’s Joplin Writers’ Guild meeting and confessed what I had done. My friend and author of Voodoo Butterfly and Emergence, Camille Faye, was appropriately appalled. She kindly advised me to cut pages and paste them into another document next time I feel the need to gut my work. That way I will have them if I ever change my mind. She is wise. I wish I had spoken with her before I highlighted all of that work and threw it away. Lesson learned.

A first draft is supposed to be rough. That’s one of the reasons they are called rough drafts. I usually refer to my first drafts as quick and dirty, but Legacy of Secrets took me three years to write. It wasn’t a quick process. This book represents countless hours of me sitting at my computer and throwing my heart and soul onto the pages. There’s a reason we writers often refer to our books as our babies.

I’ve been mulling over my missing chapters, and I’m on the cusp of forming a plan. My creativity works best when I’m doing something monotonous and letting my mind wander. To feed my imagination, I’ve been shredding old mail and political ads for a good portion of the day. My shredder is begging for a break, but I have a direction now. As a bonus, my desk looks a whole lot better.

What do you do to stoke up the fires of your creativity?

Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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