I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Read lines


I thought when you submitted a manuscript, agents and publishers cut you some slack regarding editing because you are the writer, not the English teacher. I thought all I had to do was my best and they’d understand. I thought wrong, wrong, wrong. (I meant to repeat those words.) After receiving my manuscript back from a hired-by-me editor, I now know my best sucks.

When the edited attachment popped up in my inbox, to say I was shocked by all the read lines and notes is an understatement. Feeling stupid and unworthy sums it up. The repeated words, lack of correct punctuation, and sentiments which in my mind were touching, turned out to be unclear left me feeling devastated by my sense of inability.

I wanted to rush in and fix everything even though I didn’t have a clue how the computer editing program worked. And then the enormity of what was ahead had me wanting to set aside the whole damned thing. Why fix it. It’s crap. It’s shit slashed by read lines. I was depressed.

I would have shelved the entire book but for two reasons:
I drained what was left in my writing-account to pay the editor. I saved that money as an investment in myself. I did not want all that effort, all those words from the columns I’ve written, (which paid a pittance), to come to nothing. And then there is the emotional connection. The effort and gumption it takes to open myself up counts for something. My personal kind of writing puts me on display. It ain’t easy but sometimes you just have to say what you have to say.
I waited.
I took a deep breath.
I went slowly back in, one line at a time.
I found my footing.
With each word, line, paragraph and page I am learning.
The process is making me a better writer.

While implementing the edits I’m finding parts which are building my confidence. Some bring me to my knees because I am so proud of them. The tears I have shed related to a baby lost to miscarriage, my wonderful daughters, my amazing mother, Sandy Hook, and the love and loss of a special canine-companion (these are a few among many) have convinced me to proceed. This process instills in me the absolute honor I feel by creating this thirty-year record of why I write what I write AND why I wrote what I wrote and what happened after.
Will it sell?
The articles, columns and essays already have.
Wrapped in “why” will they sell again?
I’m sold on finishing.
I’m on it.

I'm sure this post deserves red lines. Spare me.
When was the last time editing stopped one of your projects?


  1. Don't let it discourage you, Carolynn! You are a wonderful writer, and no red lines can take it away from you. We need your stories, and we need your voice. I know I do, and I can't wait to read your book! <3

    1. Oh, Lilac you are so supportive. Thank you so much.
      BTW you're a hell of writer and you get yourself in scary situations. I could never do what you do.

  2. 2Ns, I'm sure the edits are taking your writing from wonderful to spectacular. You are certainly not on your own - every writer suffers self-doubt. I know I do, and not just in editing, but in writing as well. You'll do it!!

  3. Short answer: never! I have never had an editor not accept/publish a story based on grammar, usage, or even punctuation. (I've had plenty of non-acceptances because the story wasn't good enuf or such though.) I consider grammar a tool, not a rule, and I dispense with it freely. Sentence fragments are my go-to violation. We are creative writers. We are evolving the language. We are permitted to monkey with the so-called "rules" of grammar if it suits our purposes.

    Consider the context. You paid an editor to review your work. You got what you paid for, which is a good thing. (Imagine if you paid the money and your manuscript came back clean.) But did this editor question your metaphors? Your sentiment? Your images? Your characterizations? I suspect not. Say thank you to the editor, use whatever of it you value, and then DO YOUR THING. Only you can tell your stories.

    1. But did this editor question your metaphors? Your sentiment? Your images? Your characterizations?
      Yup, she sure as did. She caught stuff I never would have seen. She was amazing, worth every penny. NOW, the manuscript is clean because I accepted, deleted, changed, and kept what I believe was/is ME. I DID MY THING and the best part, I learned.

  4. Update.
    I am as DONE as DONE can be.
    Let the queries begin.

  5. Congratulations, my dear! You can't imagine how happy I am for you… <3