Picking Up the Pieces of My Abandoned Life

My manuscript was due by noon on Friday, but I knew like a good freelancer that I should probably have it in a few hours before that. On Thursday I came home from work, scooped up the dog and my laptop, and edited from bed as if I were Edith Wharton. Mr. Dog did not participate in the editing process, but merely snoozed against my leg. Ms. Wharton probably would have been appalled, but I don’t care. He is a soothing (and warm) presence.

I completely rearranged my sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb section, and moved one chapterlet to the beginning. I had a brief moment of panic where I thought maybe I would do that again on Friday, and vowed to give myself enough time to rearrange everything once. (It turns out that this was foolish and unnecessary.) I did not sleep so well Thursday night.

Friday, I got up bright and early. I started to reread and decided I just couldn’t. There was no time, and I did not have another edit within me. So I converted my Scrivener document to Word. This tends to fuck up my tabs, so I scanned the whole document for misspellings, repeated words, and extra tabs. This turned out to be an excellent thing to do. I felt as if I were rereading, when really I was just scanning it. It allowed me to correct a few misspellings and sentence meltdowns. The manuscript was as clean as it could be.

I wrote the worst synopsis ever, and sent the whole thing in. Then I went to work. Then I came home and went to a Literary Event where DP was reading. Then I spent all Saturday in bed. Today I have my voice somewhat back; I can look at my computer without wanting to die; and I might even leave the house.

I feel pretty good about the manuscript, mostly because I haven’t looked at it again. And I really did do all I could in a one-week span. Even if I hadn’t been traveling, I don’t think I could have worked harder on it. Among other things, I would have had to go to work, and I might have felt like I needed to do the dishes or something else around the house. There are no dishes on the road.



12 responses to “Picking Up the Pieces of My Abandoned Life

  1. You can’t see it, but I’ve doffed my cap and am giving you a sitting ovation.

    You should be completed marathon-levels of proud right now, indy! Congratulations!

  2. I can remember hearing this interview on Fresh Air about 26 years ago (Yes, Terry Gross has been around for a while!). I remember how long ago it was because Baby Cougar was very small. Anyway, back to this interview. Terry was talking to musicians about finishing up a recording. “we listen to the recording” said the band leader “and then think to ourselves, ‘O we are so terrible. We can barely sing! Yik!’. Then ten years later we hear the recording again, and we think to ourselves ‘O we were so good! We will never be able to do something so good every again!’ ”

    The point? We need distance to be able to see things clearly.

    PS- No need to congratulate you. You’ve got all your blog-friends to do that for me.

    • What? You acknowledge everyone’s post but mine? You sore that I didn’t congratulate you? OK. Well done. Really well done. What’s next?

  3. Well done Indy! What is next on the programme for you? I’d be interested in hearing how this unexpected deadline has (or has not) shifted your sense of the project.

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