Fixing to do my final read-through before sending to Jeanie. I am taking a break before I do so that my brain is fresh.
It’s funny. When I first started to publish, which was beginning of 2012 I believe, I didn’t have a care in the world about errors or anything but my story. Admittedly it was also because I didn’t know as much. Now that I have learned a lot, and continue to learn, I find myself going right back. Not going back in terms of bad writing and whatnot.
It’s just that my confidence went downhill from a lot of bad experiences and then I started to worry too much over every single word. I started to think that if my grammar wasn’t perfect — whatever that was/is — that nobody would like my work. And coincidentally as I worked to make sure that my grammar was the most perfectest of perfect — see what I did there? — my stories suffered. My voice was ripped out of the work, it wasn’t as much fun. Editing killed me. Behind-the-scenes I suffered from a lot of severe headaches, nausea, dizziness. I got bored easy. It took me a long time to rake through my stories attempting to make my words so “perfect” that the soul of the story didn’t matter.
In the process of learning how to do everything the so-called “right” way so that I wasn’t called a fraud and hated, I became too scattered. But here is the thing. I’m regaining the natural confidence that I had in the beginning, I’m learning to read and learn from everyone, but take and use what works for me. I found that the more relaxed my editing, the more people loved the story.
Because here is the thing.
I am me.
I can’t be anyone else. I can’t write any stories that are so perfect that there won’t be errors. I can have an army of the best editors and there may still be errors. Missed mistakes or grammar issues that I may not mind but another person disagrees with. The most important thing is the story. Not the grammar, not the missed comma, not the word out of place.
This is not to take away from the importance of editing and trying to get the best work done that I can. This is about knowing that there is no perfect grammar or work. Some of the best loved stories have terrible grammar according to what we write today. The prose is all flowery and poetry-like. I’m looking at you Shakespeare. But people still love the work.
And what would be more important if I died tomorrow? Or a year? That I was still trying to get the grammar and wording absolutely perfect on one story? Or that I left behind an extra fifty or five thousand novels and stories (that last number would be damned awesome) for you and the rest of the world to enjoy? Should I concern myself with that one sentence until I die (never putting out another story), or put out the best I can do right this second and publish as many as I can get out? Because here in the thing with me. I get a lot of shit done if I’m forgiven for less than perfect. You know. . . if I can be human. Too many people in my life have expected perfection out of me (hell, I have expected it from myself!) and from every angle I’ve constantly heard how this I did was wrong or that I did was wrong. Well screw it. If they’re gonna say it, then watch me and keep putting me down because while they’re busy with that, I’m gonna be busy working my ass off getting as many stories out as possible.
So what do I say to all the people who want me to live my life to please them? Who say I can’t do whatever it is because I have to do what they want me to do? Watch me.
Same thing I’ve said when I was told I couldn’t do this or that. They have given up their dreams. I’m living mine. Guess what opinion matters more to me? Support shocks me. Not hatred. I’ve been hated all my life. I’m used to it. Been called arrogant when I was confident. Been called inconsiderate when I was being supportive.
I may not be everyone’s cuppa tea, but to the ones who love and accept me despite my ridiculousness. To the ones who love my stories despite the few errors here and there:
This is my pledge to you to honor you more and not worry so much about being so perfect that I hold back. I will do the best I can and then get the book out of my hands and into yours. Instead of going over and over the work until I’ve possibly stripped it of all life just to fit some individuals idea of perfect. Even me.
I will continue to learn and grow, and get better at all parts of writing including grammar, but there is only so much I can do at any given time. I don’t know what I don’t know. Attempting to keep polishing my work without tools that only continuous writing can help me to learn is ridiculous. I need to write and publish and learn it on my own. I need to DO to learn. I can’t keep slowing myself down because in a way that is my resistance to success. I do fear it. I admit that. I’m NOT perfect. Yikes I know! I’m more shocked to face that, trust me. So here is to 2016 and the year of ABUNDANCE & ACCEPTANCE for me.
I need to be spanked if I worry too much over perfection. Good Enough is GREAT.
Deep thoughts down – starting final read of Blood By Night before sending to Creech Enterprises.