US Army Retired

US Army Retired

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Phew! It's a heck of a job.

When I tell people that I'm an author, they give me that look as if to say, “It must be nice not to be working.”

Don't I wish.

There came a time a few years ago when I realized that, in order to really become an “author” I had to approach it like a job. One has to set a certain amount of time aside to not only put ideas into words but to do so in a professional manner.

Fortunately, I was forced to “retire” for medical reasons and had the time to spend at least 8 hours of each day researching and writing.

A point to make here – no matter what genre you write – fiction or nonfiction – doing your research is the difference between a professional and an amateur. And between being published and not.

The two novels I was working on that showed the greatest promise of being published by someone beside myself were ones I had spent uncounted hours scanning internet and books to obtain the truth and facts that would make both believable – and entertaining. [And they certainly don't have run on sentences like the above!!!]

But, after all that, I STILL had no idea of what absolutely exhausting work writing could turn out to be. What? Exhausting? Are you kidding me?

A couple of days ago, I received an email from the senior editor at my publisher, XOXO Publishing. She was sending me the “FINAL” version of Sonora Symphony, along with instructions and an Errata Sheet. “Don't make any changes to the manuscript,” she instructed. “Just fill out the attached errata sheet. And, when you're finished, sign it and send it back.”

Well – that shouldn't be so hard. Should it? So, here's the email I sent back to her this morning:

Well, here it is. It was, by far, one of the toughest tasks I've ever encountered in writing! I've probably gone through this a thousand times - but never since writing it, word by word, sentence by sentence. I've got to tell you that, if we had not reached to this point, I might have considered making changes instead of just looking for errors. But, I put my fingers behind my back and did what you told me to.”

Have any of you done this too?

At least I found myself enjoying the various stories almost as much as when I first found them to include in the novel.

Here's an example of what I had to do: Page 59, line 13 - “His – remove bold

I even had to double-check each and every punctuation, as well as ensuring all the pronouns and stuff were correct.

And this was even after one editor had gone over it twice and the senior editor had gone over it twice also!!!!!

So now, I sit here wondering what, if anything, else I missed!!!!!

And, there's more! I have a sequel to that book that is going to need a line-by-line review before they send me the contract. Yeah, and then there's the book I have with a second publisher, The Sailor and The Carpenter. Not only am I going to have to do a line-by-line with that but I just found another source document that is going to require that I make some changes to that – and the other two!

So. Anyone want to say that writing isn't work?


  1. Writing is a work of love, otherwise no one would continue to do it for hours at a time, week after week, month after month, and year after year.

    If I'd been a brain surgeon, just think of how many holes I could have drilled by now.

  2. I remember my final edit. The handful of mistakes we found were introduced from the editing process itself. And yes, it is a full time job, banging out the first draft is the easiest part and most people don't know it. It takes longer to edit and polish the work than it is to create it.