If you haven’t read the preceding post, “Disregard 15 Pages,”
please do so before reading on.
That post isn’t very long, but if you read it first,
you’ll get more out of this very short one.
So finally, after revising and revising and revising, you give in, and give up, and stop, because you know it’s as good as it’s going to get—
and because the person you’re writing it with said she’ll “put you in a straightjacket if you try to change it again”—quoted verbatim from her email—
and you believe she’s capable of it—
and you think maybe it’s not the gosh-awful purple-prosed horror you dreaded—
and maybe it even has a couple of redeeming qualities—
and maybe you won’t be embarrassed to have your name on the cover—maybe—
and someday you might even tell people you did it—
and then the real critics come in—
and they put their heads together and consult and confer and say—
You know how even when you know what you’ve written isn’t as good as it ought to be, you think you’ve gone as far as you can go with it, but you also know you haven’t, and your deadline is tomorrow, about 18 months after your original deadline, so you give it one more going-over, and you spend a whole day marking and then a whole day making changes to the manuscript in LibreOffice, because there were so many things you found that needed to be changed, and when it’s finally done, both your brain and your body are just fried, and you send it off, and then even though you know you shouldn’t, you show 15 pages to your writer friends, and they say it’s better than it was the last time you showed it to us, BUT, and they scribble all over your pages, and they’re so right, and so you go back and change the manuscript again, here and here and here, everywhere they said to, and you send the 15 pages off with the message, Disregard that last part of what I sent yesterday and substitute these, and then your brain and body are re-fried, and you sleep for nearly twelve hours, and then even though you know you should let it alone, you send another 15 pages to your writer friends, and you know they’re going to say, Change this and Change this and Change this, and they’re going to be right, and tomorrow afternoon you’re going to be back at that manuscript, putting in changes there and there and there, and you’ve looked at the d****** thing for so long that the words are turning into squiggles on the page, but you’ll change it anyway because your artistic and OCD temperament won’t let you just leave it alone, and then you’ll send another email saying, Disregard another fifteen pages of what I sent you before and substitute these, and the person on the other end is already at the end of her rope, waiting and waiting and waiting for you to finally finish the thing, but you can’t help it, and when you say it’s a never-ending story, you’re not talking about the book . . .