If You Think Writing is Hard – You’re not Editing Enough

I had planned to contact an editor this week. It took me a day to find the link to the editor I had found earlier and wanted to try. Note to self; I got to get more organized.

The next day I had to get ready for a writers/critique group meeting. So most of the day was spent doing a quick edit of the manuscript. I had the washing machine running the whole time along with anything else I could multitask at the same time. Unfortunately the bed will not make itself or the the dishes wash themselves.

In the first paragraph I started finding simple things that were wrong, things I should have found a dozen edits ago. Now, I have not worked on the manuscript while I was on vacation for a week and a half. But it was crazy at the things I was finding. In two days I went through the whole manuscript. All 170 double spaced pages. It’s 10 point type too, so it’s 64000 words. It’s on the short side but it’s a novel.

The morning before the writers meeting I printed the manuscript out. A quick read and I started to trip over error after error. As much as I have worked on the computer, when it’s on paper it looks different and I find things. So I started to read the paper version out loud. I’m already hoarse from reading it out loud off the computer screen.

I only get two and a half chapters marked up before the meeting.

So I hand the manuscript over. I have great expectations. I put a lot of work into the last three edits. It reads (out loud) well. The red ink flows. She hasn’t seen the manuscript in two weeks and it’s getting a fresh set of eyes treatment. This is too long. This isn’t the right words. You know the drill. The manuscript couldn’t be any better, but it could.

There was on bright spot out of this mess. I got a comment that my hand written changes were very good. Now I got to crank them in and continue editing and reading out loud from the print out the other 14 chapters.

Later this week I will contact some editors. At least I will have a better manuscript to send them for a sample edit and when I chose an editor I will have a much better manuscript to send her.

Remember: don’t waste your talent, edit.

Remember: Set your readers world on fire. Your pen is the match, your words the gasoline.

Stay strong, write on, and print it out and edit some more.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Road trip writer – Dream On

I took a vacation to attend a radio conference in Wichita, Kansas. I went with my friend from high school, we’ve been doing this for decades.

I drove from the coast of California to Kansas city, MO, then to Wichita, KS. Over 4100 miles and used close to 100 gallons of gas. With 60,000 miles on the car, it doesn’t get the 50 miles a gallon it use to. Now it’s more like 43 miles to a gallon.

12 days on the road. Only 4 of them did not involve serious driving. By serious I mean 8 to 12 hours of driving.

I had planned to have my friend drive some of the trip. He wasn’t feeling well most of the time so I ended up driving the majority of the time.

I had planned to write while he drove. The first time he drove I dug out the lap top. I had remembered to bring the car charger so I was all set. It didn’t work out. Bouncing around in the car with the laptop makes it hard to type. I don’t need an Internet connection to write, but the laptop screen is hard to see in the sunlight. Could have used a big card board box to put over the computer to make it better to see the screen.

I tried to write in the hotel room. After eight to ten hours of driving, plus stops along the way, I just wanted to get some sleep. I also found that I had left the thumb drive, with all the current files on it that I needed, back in California. It’s hard to think after being on the road ten to twelve hours. It’s near impossible if you have been driving those ten to twelve hours. I was able to plow through a couple of hundred emails, a night, in the hotel room, but not much else.

I did get some writing related things done. I made notes in the paper log I keep. Again I couldn’t write well while my friend drove. My handwriting is bad enough, but bouncing around in the car it gets illegible. In the hotel room I would jot down a few key notes. I had to stop at a dollar store to get a new Pilot Gel pen. The one I was using ran out of ink. Next time I’m packing a spare. I also picked up a spare five by seven note book, the one I have been using is running out of blank pages. Note, pack a spare note book next time.

Taking notes on the smart phone is too slow. The soft keypad, on the screen, is too small for my fingers. And it looks like I’m texting all the time. The screen on the cell phone is easier to see in the sun light than the laptop but not much better. It also gives me neck pains if I use it too long.

A vacation is for fun, so the blog posts did not get done. A vacation is for relaxing. Driving for ten to twelve hours is not relaxing. I had to have my friend read the questions from cross word puzzles to me to keep me from falling asleep at the wheel. A lot of the central United States looks the same. We would do two or three cross word puzzles a day. It’s getting harder and harder to find a newspaper, even at truck stops. There are almost no paper back books at truck stops. If someone comes up with an audio version of a cross word puzzle, they could make a fortune.

Stay strong, write on, and go take a vacation.
Professor Hyram Voltage