Yesterday I bumped into a good friend who was excited to tell me she had just finished reading my book Betting
Jessica. She told me she really liked the story… and then leaned in close to tell me a secret. “If you ever need me to help with editing, let me know. It had a few spelling problems.” Sadly, this was not the secret she perhaps imagined it to be.
What has this got to do with dog poop, you may be asking? Well, last night we had friends over for dinner. Expecting the kids to want to play in the backyard, we decided to make sure it was ready for them. My husband had already done one round and yet, when I came outside I found more dog poop that he had somehow missed; then, guess what, my daughter found even more.
I looked at my husband and said, “this is exactly like editing my book.” Somehow, no matter how many times you walk the backyard there always seems to be more poop to find. It is the same with writing. Readers may not have any idea how often authors edit their book before it ever gets out to the public. Let’s just say that by the time I was finished with Betting Jessica it was on version 72 in my documents file.
My smarty-pants daughter suggested we pick up the poop as soon as our dog, Summer, went to the bathroom. It is difficult to find fault with that plan, except, stopping at 9:00 at night, in the rain and cold, to find Summer’s poop in the dark is not always the most reasonable thing to do.
It is easy to compare that dark cold space to the written page. Just as all I want at night is to get back inside where it is warm and dry, while I write my brain is more focused on what is coming next than on catching errors as I write them. Editing will always be a fact of writing; the skill I am learning is in how to train my brain to catch my mistakes in editing mode later. At the same time, it is also a solid argument for considering traditional publishing as opposed to self-publishing.
Most importantly, though, I am learning that rather than being annoyed that my daughter found overlooked dog poop (or my friend found my mistakes) I should use their eyes to help me correct the problem… before others step in it.
So, if you’ve been holding back… feel free to let me know the Kindle positions of my editing “poop”. I’d like to get Betting Jessica ready for more visitors.