Saturday, July 18, 2009
For my birthday my husband bought me (read: us) new sheets. They aren’t literally silk, but they have a 500 thread count, which I didn’t know existed. They were half price and STILL cost twice as much as I’ve ever spent on a set of sheets. I’ve often told him he has Nordstrom tastes and a Penney’s wife--a point that is important because his Penney’s wife is not only CONTENT there, but that’s all she can afford, as the primary wage earner… but I digress. The metaphor actually hit me as pertinent to my writing. You see, these sheets are REALLY nice. They are smooth and soft, and feel nice to wrap myself in (critical as a naked sleeper). But the second night I slept in them, my toenail caught… then caught again. The next night, the bottom of my feet. (yuck, right? What’s up with that?) I have since been filing and pumicing to be adequate for my sheets. Seems an awful lot of work, just to go to bed. (The metaphor starts, when?) I’ve been writing for what, 30 years? Journals, letters, poetry. For the first 25 I was very private about the matter. My journaling and poetry were nearly never shared, the letters only with the intended (except my kid at college series--those went to my whole extended family and are admittedly entertaining). There were novel starts--one 250 pages worth, but not shared, except conceptually. Then 4 years ago, I came out as a writer with fan fiction stuff--just to prove some outrageous Harry Potter theories initially, but the response was good. My writing was liked. And as I worked, I went from the private ‘burlap worthy’ to a handy practical cotton--maybe 150 count. I had an audience who liked me. But this novel thing is different. I’m not asking people just to read and enjoy. I’m asking them to PAY for it. I have upped the ante. My fan fiction stuff has always been edited and proof-read, but not rewritten. I’ve never even had it beta-read, because honestly, for the format, my journalism degree is adequate. The quality is as good as other beta-read fan fiction. But as I go through the editing, rewriting, shortening, editing again process with the novel, I’ve realized something. There are still some rough patches. I need to get out my file and my pumice stone if I am to enter this elite world. I need to be worthy of sliding into the smoothness if I hope for it to embrace me, rather than just making me feel inadequate. But that’s what I plan to do.