Doubting My Doubts

Its been a tough couple of days for this writer.  I am on my third editor and living on tender hooks if she is going to follow through with the job.  My history with editors has been a rough one.

The first one I paid, only to be told that I was beyond hopeless as an author.  She fired me and I was horrified and despondent.  Editor number 2 was a friend of a friend.  She didn’t charge me, because she enjoyed the process, but became quite ill and stopped responding to my calls or emails.  Now I’m on editor number 3, and readers, I hope she’s the charm.

Not all is gloom and doom, however.  The first editor was right about my writing style.  I stunk.  My style was notable for lacking style.  But did I give up?  Did I hide under the bed?  Well, yeah I did, for a couple a weeks.  It was the shame that someone saw through my facade, my pretentiousness, calling me out as a fraud.  I felt a fraud, too.  I ended up lolling around in a deep pool of pity and humiliation.  Geez, this writing business can be brutal on self worth.

Saturday I emailed #3 asking her how the edit was going.  I hadn’t heard much from her, understanding she had other projects that had to be finished.  Still, I watched my email attentively looking for any new messages.  And one day later it came.  Such a long email.  Just the sheer length of the reply kicked my nerves into overdrive, and my stomach into knots.

But I took a breath and a drink of water, then focused on her words.  She actually likes my work!  She even complimented my dialog and details.  The first editor, if she knew of that new assessment would certainly roll her eyes in disbelief.  But I’ve thought a lot about #3’s remarks and need to give myself a break.  After #1’s rejection, I dug in and rewrote, rewrote and rewrote.  #2 editor generously monitored my work, line by line, and I have nothing but warm gratitude toward her for such kind tutelage.  She revealed to me my writing voice.

#3’s concerns surround the plot line, and the sudden starts and stops with the overall book.  It appears I’ve graduated from weak sentences, now to the larger shape of the overall work.  Of course I had to beg her not to drop me, and felt a little silly and dramatic after revealing my vulnerability.  But I need a solid editor who believes in my manuscript.  I’ll do anything I need to do to get River of January to publication.

This has been nothing less than an ordeal.  Yet, I am persuaded that the story must come to life, the adventures of the central characters deserve attention.  I can’t let my doubts overwhelm me.

I need to learn to doubt my doubts.

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