I rarely write about writing. My books, yes. Writing, no.
Why? The answer is simple — I don’t feel like an expert on writing.
Even after six published books, and four more (hopefully) coming out by the end of this year, I don’t feel like an expert on writing.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The more my writing improves, the more I realize I have work to do and I don’t know enough yet.
Some days writing is joyful. Some days it is not. I don’t write everyday, even though some people say all writers should. I write in spurts — lengthy, time-consuming spurts — and then I crash, spending the next couple weeks with a “writer’s hangover”.
Writing is joyful but it’s also work. Serious work. For example, this is how I spent my day yesterday…
I spent the morning and afternoon writing Killer Moves (Horror High Book #3). Around 4pm, I received the final proof – which is the last time I get to see a book before it hits the printer – of Cutting Up the Competition (Horror High Book #2).
Although I’ve read through it a dozen times already, and it would be so easy to just say, “This looks great. Let’s print,” I ALWAYS go through my final proof line by line, checking for last minute errors. So, I spent five hours reading Cutting Up the Competition AGAIN (have you ever read a book thirteen times in the span of a few months? – yuck), looking for mistakes. In the end, I found one tiny one. But it was still worth it to catch just that.
After I was done with that, I pulled out an old manuscript called Searching for Sullivan that I’ve been meaning to proofread and submit FOREVER. It’s done, finished. So… I thought it would be a quick touch up and formatting job, but as soon as I started reading the very first chapter, I groaned. I wrote Searching for Sullivan over a year ago. Much to my dismay, parts of it were in present tense, and there were tons of tiny little “no-no’s” throughout. I could go on for days about all the things I did wrong in that book.
By the time I reached chapter four, I realized – much to my dismay – that Searching for Sullivan needs to be completely rewritten. Completely. So, I spent the next six hours rewriting the first ten chapters (there are nearly 100 chapters in this book, by the way). So, here I sit at 3 in the morning, feeling tired but accomplished. I literally worked on writing from sun up until far past sundown today. So, like I said – some writing is fun and some writing is serious work. And you can’t have one part without the other.
I made progress on one project, finished another, and broke the ice on a serious work in progress. And today, in a few hours, I’ll start this all again…
People frequently ask me to talk about writing or offer tips, so here’s one important lesson to share: Writing is hard, but it ain’t got nothing on rewriting. Rewriting is like writing and editing and proofreading all wrapped into one – and way more boring – and it is a painfully slow process.