Posts Tagged ‘Humour’

Or, Editing Woes Noone Warned you About ~

The word “edit” in the dictionary means “to prepare for publication.”

For the author in the last stages of editing their book, the sheer hours spent bum-in-chair can become numbing at both ends of the spectrum.

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You see, no one tells you the truth about the writer’s life, either at school or in the way it’s rendered via popular media. As a kind of public service announcement, I’m happy to give you a “heads up” about the possible woes that lie ahead, if you’re thinking of turning that story in the bottom drawer into a viable commodity.

Here’s what to expect:

Editing Woes #1: Temporary Blindness

Stephen King once said, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” There’s a good reason for keeping that office door open. Besides getting other people’s eyes upon your fiction, you need ventilation. You can succumb to writer’s fatigue. After sitting in a room on your own, staring at those dark marching ants across the screen for hours, you stop seeing the words.

Cure: Get some oxygen, head outdoors, look at nature.

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Editing Woes #2: Temporary Book Hate

“The first draft of everything is shit,” so said Ernest Hemmingway. However, given enough exposure to your own work, every other draft of your own precious story will start to annoy you, too. This is a temporary phase.

Top tip: Try not to throw the entire file in the rubbish bin.

Cure: Keep going. Do not give up!

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Editing Woes #3: Temporary Loss of Will to Live

There comes a moment, when you’ve just finished your hundredth edit of your story, and you realize you’re going to have to go back to the beginning and start again, that the apple begins to slide off the cherry.

I had a deadline to reach this weekend, my book needed to be submitted to createspace by April 15th. The material had been worked over so many times, but it still wasn’t done. When I found myself at 6.30 in the evening yesterday, and it wasn’t finished and I still I had to keep editing, I felt weak with stress.

The last yards to publication when you’re an Indie are soul destroying. Every time you think you’ve carved off the last word and discovered the last ill-placed comma, you find yet another error.

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On the fifth “final edit” I just wanted to put down the laptop lid, walk away and pretend none of it ever happened. I felt I could not read those words again.

Top Tip: This is normal. You will want to give up. You will want to curl in the fetal position. Don’t worry; it happens to all of us. It’s like childbirth or passing a kidney stone, it doesn’t matter how bad it becomes, you will get through it.

Cure: Eat treats. I took “feijoa breaks.”

Editing Woes #4: Temporarily Losing Touch with Reality

Yes, this is a common problem they don’t warn you about in writing class. When those sixth and seventh “final edits” take place, usually late at night, and you’re keeping yourself going by drinking coffee and eating sweets, the hours start to blend. One friend said, “it’s like a black hole that sucks time into it.”

This is true. The further you dive into your nitty-gritty polishes, the more hours disappear. When I finally lifted my head last night, I looked around and it was dark outside. The whole day had vanished. I was blinking like a mole, saying, where is everyone?

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Cure: Go be with human people. Exercise. Eat. Drink. Sleep.

The reward is that this really is the last hurdle.

Top Tip: just as with childbirth, it’s all worth it in the end. When the proud author gets to see their story presented in book form for the first time, it makes all the pain of editing worthwhile. The secret is to keep going through the gnarly last part!

At midnight, I had the manuscript, the cover art, a professional headshot, the back cover blurb and three great peer reviews ready to go, and I submitted the whole package to Createspace. I felt immediate relief and joy. Now, I await the first “proof” which is exciting.

But here’s the thing, no work of art is ever truly finished.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”

I had to choose the point at which to let go. When do you let go? When do you say enough’s enough?

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Talk to you later.

Keep Writing!

Yvette K. Carol

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“This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again.” ~ Oscar Wilde

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For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

~ Cynthia Occelli

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Growth is painful. I’m pushing myself this year, to step outside of my comfort zones. I decided to conquer, once and for all, my fear of public speaking, and what’s happening is I’m growing beyond the former boundaries I had set for myself.

This week I participated in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. I won first place within my club.

My youngest child had come down with a strep throat the night before, therefore I was nerve-wracked, sleep-deprived, and over-wrought. It perfectly exemplified the point of the topic I’d chosen – for my second speech ever for Toastmasters – “The Perils of Parenting!”

This is the transcript of the winning speech! ~

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Contest Chair, fellow members,

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. To do a good job, we, the parents, need help every step of the way. In the old days, the young generation had the wise women of the tribe, the grandmothers, to turn to for advice on these important life matters.

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I invite you to imagine that I’m this tribe’s grandmother, and you are the young people come to listen to my wisdom.

“I want to speak on a subject that should TERRIFY you…the perils of parenting.

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‘But, Grandma,’ you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

 No. Don’t do it.

I’d like you young people to make a list of the “mistakes” your parents made with you – the things you DO NOT intend doing with your own precious child. Then take that list and throw it out. I promise you, when you become a parent, you will do every single thing on that list, probably more than once. Put your baby on a leash in a public situation? Yes, you will do it. Use the television to keep them entertained for more than half an hour? Yes, you will do it. Feed them MacDonald’s for dinner and sometimes hot chips for breakfast? Yes, you’ll do that too.

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“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

No. Don’t do it!

I remember the first time my firstborn let me know who was really in charge.

It was a sunny day in December, 2008. I was eight months along. My boyfriend and I had decided to join our friends on a nice picnic at the Beach.

It wasn’t until we got home that my ankles started to swell. They had gotten badly sunburned and combined with the fluid retention; my feet and ankles were swelling up like rugby balls. I was carried, raja-like by my friends to the couch – where I stayed for three days, swapping my feet between buckets of ice and raising my legs on a dozen pillows, taking painkillers and crying.

And the baby wasn’t even born yet!

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I felt a tremor in me waters then.  Like, they do on Jurassic Park, when the liquid in the cup ominously trembles and someone whispers, ‘It’s coming!’

Parenthood doesn’t sound that bad, you say. No? Well, listen to this!

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The next thing to go when you become a parent is your sense of dignity.

Within eighteen months of my eldest child being born, I had sniffed the business end of my baby in public. I had also gone shopping at Countdown while still wearing my pajamas and my gardening crocs.

You will shout, “Ooh, look, a dog!” or even worse, go, “Woof, woof!” when you see one. You’ll SHOUT OUT every time you see something that could potentially interest a small child. It’s a hard habit to break! I still find myself, saying, “Ooh, look, a truck!” And the boys are 10, 12, and 32.

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The next thing to go when you become a parent is your wallet. That hurts the worst of all. My father likes to say, when you’re expecting a baby, to save time, simply start up the automatic payments immediately for half your wages to go to the supermarket and the other half to go to the doctor. Because you won’t see a RED cent for yourself for many years to come!

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The marvelous thing about having babies is that every day is a magical new adventure. You never know what’s going to happen. Mostly, what will happen is dealing with dirty nappies, vomit, and sleepless nights.

However, sometimes, gorgeous things happen. Like the first time you witness your child being kind, or, when you get a chocolate-covered kiss, (the milky acids are good for the skin).

But, the next minute, the same beautiful child will stand on your toe, stick their elbow in your eye and drop your Iphone down the toilet. That’s kids, for you.

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So I say to you young people brimming with hope, that parenting is full of perils and woe, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have boy babies like I did. You will suffer! You will curse. You will raise a pointed finger to the sky and cry, “Why?”

You’ll give everything you have to your child and still give more…until you’re nothing but a shriveled up pile on the floor. When your child will ask you, “What’s for dinner?”

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So, I say to you, ‘Parenting is not for the faint-hearted.’

“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

Yes, of course you must do it!

One day, when you’re old enough, you’ll have babies of your own. You have to!

Because, while having kids may be hard work, I hear having grandchildren is absolutely wonderful!

Thank you.

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Keep Striving!

Talk to you soon,

Yvette K. Carol

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One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. ~ Henry Miller