This will be a long winded narrative that’s all over the place, just short of 1000 words,talking about how Editing is hell, and how it never has come natural to my mind. This post will have minimal editing, so it was less hell and more of a necessary purgatory to give me a break in the real editing process of my new book that I’m working on called, Sleep Walking Under The Moon Soul of Lake Michigan.
I was talking to a pal of mine who a year and a half ago now (damn) when I moved back to my hometown I learned he graduated with a creative writing degree. I’m not really all that sure what he really does but from what I gather let’s just say that for most of the past half of decade he quit writing and has been working for a box company designing labeling that went on the boxes. When I got back he joined me for my writing bender (back then I was drinking like a fish too) and we talked about writing as if we were in college again ( like I do everyday), and seeing how obsessed I was with writing I think I inspired him to get back into writing, and he’s been working on a novel the past year.
editing is hell, I said to him.
for sure, he said.
Nobody really gets that, I said.
yeah, you can’t really get into the flow when you’re editing. You have to think too much. Have too much time to think about other things.
I know man, I said, Your world slows down, but everybody else’s just carries on at the same speed. Takes a whole day just to edit five pages.
He just laughed. Why do you think I’m not sure if I’m a writer or not. I’m too lazy for the editing process.
It just hurts my back.
it’s a labor of love, he laughed. and before we stopped talking he said, yeah your right, editing is hell.
And I don’t mean to complain, maybe I do, ha, I just needed to type a long string of sentences and create something right now and not worry about what is proper and what is you, the reader. I just wanted to write and talk about how writing is a flow but the editing process is something that I have never really gotten used to. The only problem is that I think it’s necessary to the finished product.Some people wont edit and some people stress editing but I don’t know what is better, but for me I think all work needs some editing, but sometimes you can overdo it. Sometimes you can look at a sentence for far too long.
Good editors are hard to come by like they were in the past, and I think writers are hard to come by like in the past. But I’m a throwback, an old school writer, it’s what I do, the only thing I do. I go to bed usually with the thought that this is all for nothing, but I force myself to get up and do it again and again and try to be happy that so many people treat me like I’m stupid or have mental problems , and most people equate intelligence with money in this town and state and country and world, and in that sense I don’t have much, and its ok, it’s just that I wonder if I should give up and start over, go back to playing baseball or something.
Lately, just to get my mind off this life I live, I’ve been working out and swinging a bat in my backyard daily and taking long jogs at night. I don’t know why, because its been a long time since I played baseball in college, but even these days it’s the only thing that still comes natural to me. In the summer when I’m not writing or going through a year summer melt-down because of some break up I suffered, I go to these batting cages almost every other day. And you look at me and you wouldn’t think I would be very good at baseball, skinny and shaggy hair and old flannel and loafers but I get in there, left-handed and I just hit the seventy-five mile an hour pitches as good as anyone that has ever been there. People who wouldn’t talk to me before based on my liberal appearance start saying “you play still”, and I say “no, I just like to hit”, and I do, I’ve always been good at it, comes natural, maybe the only thing that does.
I almost played minor league baseball but decided to go to college and in college I studied too much and fell into the books and eventually came down with the writing disease. If I wouldn’t have read The Stranger by Albert Camus I probably would have been a baseball player, or a cop, because I graduated with a criminal justice and sociology degree, and its funny how your life goes, right, yeah it is, and I never thought I would be in my hometown up til four-o-clock in the morning every night worried about my terrible relationship with yet another messed up girl while editing yet another terrible book. I always hope that with enough time I’ll get there. Maybe this time it will be good.
Yet another book, maybe done by the end of next week, and the thought was that I might sell enough to feel like I’m progressing as a writer, which I think I am, who knows. I do know that when your starting out trying to gain your footing in the writing world time is your enemy because you have to work really hard at writing, man, it’s fucking difficult. Sorry about my use of the word fuck so often, but it is, writing and editing is fucking difficult.
Editing is all about time and this is why Editing is hell. That’s why I just needed to write about something for a few minutes. I’ve been working about nine hours a day on Sleep Walking Under The Moon Soul of lake Michigan and I dig it, it seems like a real good book, but the idea was to get it out as a small collection and be done with it and make a bit of money from it to travel and promote myself as a writer. I thought I would have it done in about ten days because most of the writing was already done, and in the past it would be done, and it wouldn’t be very good, but as I edit and edit it gets so much better and even looks different than lets say this post that isn’t as edited as the words that actually get into my books.
All this hell of the editing process made me realize (even though I always forget after the book is done just how long it took) that editing is very important for the writer, because the story forms and the book, the project, turns into something different than it was originally planned on being. It turns into itself, what it is, and you cant control it, even though you’re the artist and the writer that drafted it.
The book takes on a life of its own during the editing process, especially a book like the one I’m working on. There really is a story in, and its probably going to be about 120 pages when its all said and done. I’m rushing it in a way, because I have so much other things to take care of, but at the same time, I can only go at the speed that it allows me to go at.
Like I said, editing is hell. Maybe I should have stuck with baseball. But I didn’t. I became a damn writer. Now I’m almost 32, so there’s no going back now. It is what it is. It’s hell.