A Writing Entry – What Idiot Did That?

Oh, it was me.

I’m still working feverishly at my new collection of short stories about my fictional band, Nevermore and the Ravens (see links to the side). I’m behind where I wanted to be because I’m still writing, and it’s quite late for me to still be writing. I should be wrapping up with the editing at this point and submitting to Smashwords for publication. But my best-laid plans have somehow gone awry, and clearly there was no way I could have predicted that happening.

However, as I still struggle to finish up the actual rough draft at this late date, I have loaded up Necromancy for the Greater Good onto my e-reader. I was hoping it could provide me with a source of inspiration and keep me in the writing mindset. Instead, I find myself catching mistakes, hence the interrogative title of this entry, and the subsequent answer.

I’ve already lamented in my misplaced faith in the automatic spell-checker. But the spell-checker can’t even begin to notice when I miss words, and the grammar checker is not very good at that either. Nor does the grammar checker always notice when I’m using the wrong tense, or have used the entirely wrong (but correctly spelled) word.

Writing is hard. I know, it seems easy, but it isn’t. The process is fraught with false starts, frustration, and always procrastination (which is how I find myself where I am, which is behind). And self-publication is hard as well. Not only do I have to be the writer, but also the editor and the cover art designer. Believe me, I wish I had the service of professionals. I want to be a professional, and I recognize that professional help can further that goal. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to hire outside help, nor have I gained sufficient interest from traditional publishing houses to offer those professional services to me. I am, for better or worse, a DIY author.

I dislike mistakes. I pride myself on doing a good job in all aspects of my life and I particularly pride myself on being a good editor. I do a lot of editing work in my real job. The details matter. If I misspell a word, if I use the wrong tense, if I can’t even keep a character’s name consistent, all those details add up to a sloppy whole. That’s what I want to avoid. I know I notice those small mistakes in written works (I tend to overlook them in visual media, though; perhaps this is just a function of my fevered writer’s brain) and I assume that everyone else notices those small mistakes in my written work. I may be just paranoid. Still, if I don’t put out my best effort, I feel I can’t expect to be taken seriously. I don’t want to be an amateur. I want to be a professional.

So this is the first time in a while that I’ve actually taken the time to just read the collection I wrote instead of mining it for details to make sure the subsequent installments are consistent. And because of how my brain works, the mistakes just jump out at me. Really, the farther in I read the more I wonder if it would be worth it to re-publish just to fix the mistakes, but then I think that maybe I’m overreacting especially since I still need to finish the third book and I really don’t have a lot of time (hence skipping a few blog entries).

I really don’t mean to complain. I mean to inform. This is a one-person show, and the more I plug away at this, the more I feel the pressure. Much is what I put on myself, but if I’m not happy with my work, and think it has mistakes or feels sloppy, I don’t have any reason to expect my intended audience will think any differently. That’s not what I want. I want to write stories and share stories and I want people to enjoy those stories, and not think, “What idiot did that?”

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awritershailmarypass

S. J. Drew is an aspiring writer who finally entered the blogosphere to shamelessly promote that writing (as evidenced by the title of the blog). Whether or not this works remains to be seen, but S. J. hopes you are at least entertained. And if you're actually reading this, that's probably a good sign.

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