Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Remind Me to Never Write a Book

When I say that you should remind me to never write a book, I'm kidding. Well, mostly kidding. I do love writing, and I do love books. So it only makes sense that writing books would be something I love to do. Right?

Write. I mean right. Sorry, I can't think straight anymore. Because the reality of writing a book goes way further than simply writing the book in and of itself. "Oh my! You've written a novel?" people say. "Don't you already have that dog training book?"

Yes, I do. And I am proud of my books--truly I am--both my nonfiction house training book, and my new novel. Nonetheless, I have to remind myself not to roll my eyes when people make such exclamations. Why? Because of the editing. And the revising. And the revisions of the edited, revised, and further edited versions.

If you're not a writer, it's hard to imagine that you could spend half an hour deciding whether or not you always have to say "whether or not," or whether you can sometimes just say "whether." It's mind-boggling. And with over 110,000 words in a book, (um, that's about 10,000 too many... they need to be edited out), the quandaries abound at every turn.

Or not even every turn. It's every line! Or, more accurately, every word! I was recently reading my Writer's Digest magazine and came across some invaluable advice: For each word, sentence, and paragraph, ask yourself this question: "What is the purpose of having this in here?"

Sigh. Here I was, thinking I was thisclose to being absolutely "done."

Then again, I am done. For now. Although a big part of me realizes that all advice is good to consider, and this particular advice makes an extremely legitimate point, I'll have try it on the next round of revisions. Which, knowing me, will start tomorrow.

Hopefully, I'll remember all of these words of wisdom as well as the multitude of decisions I've made on the minutae of text. I should probably keep a list. But I can barely keep up with all of the writing I already do: editing and revising my book, writing my blog, all of the e-mails, contests, outlines for seminars I'm teaching... well, you get the point.

I'll just have to hope I remember it all for the next book. If I'm ever brave enough to write one again.

Which I'm sure I will be. I always am.

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