About six weeks ago I sent a section of Uncommon Ground to a woman I know who is trying to make a go of it as a freelance editor. She is a writer as well – unpublished. I didn’t hear from her for a while, which I took as a sure sign that the entire manuscript was destined for the trash heap.
Okay that’s a little harsh. I didn’t sit down to write with my eye on the publishing prize. A bunch of stuff happened in my life (work related) and I was unhappy personally. So on the night I got a call from my boss telling me our job-share proposal had been rejected and I was back to being a peon working above her pay-grade I took my laptop to the attic and started to type. When I stopped for the night I had written 80 pages of….something. I didn’t know what. I wrote the next day, and the next, and the next. I wrote for hours. I sat for so long that when I stood up I almost blacked out from the blood rushing to my head. I barely saw my family. I didn’t cook, or clean or do anything Mom related.
When it was finished, Uncommon Ground sat at 110,000 words. Written. By. Me. The girl who never finishes ANYTHING.
I couldn’t do the editing myself. I tried. But I think I tried too soon. My beta readers were all people who love me (yes, rookie mistake) and therefore could not be trusted.
I put Uncommon Ground aside and refused to look at it for the better part of the last year. But when I didn’t hear from the FE in question I went back to the manuscript. I wish someone would have told me 8 months ago how important it was to walk away for a while. When I read it now I see the flaws, the bits and pieces that don’t work…or would work if I were to write them better. It’s a gift, really, a big embarrassing gift.
Distance hasn’t made me less apt to switch tenses. I am still a grammatical train wreck. So the question becomes this: Is Uncommon Ground good enough for me to pay someone to fix it? How do I know who the right someone is?
I received an email from her last night detailing instructions on how to work with an editor. She attached the first 33 pages of the book, edited. Part of me wants to open it up and look at what she’s done to see how I feel about her skills. Did she make me sound brilliant? Or is the book so far from ready that I will go broke trying to get it right.
The other part of me wants to ignore it and get back to my WIP. I only have two days to write this week and having fun with my newish friends in the forest sounds much more enticing then listening to Rosie whine about not fitting in. (To be fair to Rosie, she’s not really a whiner. But she is lonely…and odd. God I love her.)
Is it go time? For which project? Does it count as finished if I don’t make it pretty? How unattractive is my indecisiveness? Am I a woman, or a turtle?
Online oracle, here I come.