Step one - Run away from the big scary reality!
Remember when I said I was going to post about my process with my writing coach? Are you ready? I really want you all to take this journey along with me.
So, starting now, I'm going to create a "journal" in essence, to share my process. It will be random posts, hopefully in between helpful content, to bring you along with me. Shall we just dive in?
Today is my first real chat with my writing coach to discuss my developmental edits. My manuscript was sent on Friday, and by Sunday, my coach had already sent it back. I was waiting to open the email to a message that said "listen, this was an ok first draft, but I don't want to waste your money, or my time, to do a developmental edit when you just aren't there yet... let's discuss". I was shocked to see a full edit attached to the email and such powerful, uplifting comments about my work - In the email anyways.
So the nature of an editor is to find the problems with your writing. That's why you hire them after all. I think I opened, closed, and digested what she sent at least 15 times. The paragraphs of explanation in the email took one full read through, then I put my phone away and had to breathe, assess, react, and then re-read it all to make sure I wasn't over-reacting. Then I opened the overview file. When editing, she completed both manuscript content notes, and then also a separate document that summarized the areas that I need to be prepared to work on.
I got through the first paragraph of the overview document, closed it, and had a minor self-bashing, I'm not good enough, this was a waste of time, I can't do this moment. Then I re-opened that document and read the breakdown of main focus areas. Closed it again, and thought, nope, I will have to come back to this when I can concentrate. I can't concentrate now, I'm not ready for this. About an hour later I re-opened the document and read the details under the few headings I knew needed work (writing style and pace). She just confirmed my own doubts about my pace (basically that I have rushed a few scenes that need a little more love). But the writing style was a big shock. I was expecting to read that there was no style. That my voice was flat-lining, that my style was bland, that I was, unfortunately not cut out for any of this - Amazing how we naturally beat the hell out of ourselves! Instead she was in love with my dialogue (I have never considered myself good at dialogue) and the entire manuscript was very well written. She commented that, at this place in the process, I am further along than most of her clients. - Hooray!!
It still took me until the next day to get the courage up to read the development edits on my actual manuscript, and still, I would get a chapter's worth of notes read, before I would close the document.
Self doubt, fear, and defeat were a tangible thing.
After half a day of looking at the email, and being too scared to open it, I made a cup of coffee, curled up in bed, and got comfortable. I was going to get through it all, and if at the end of it, I was convinced I really wasn't cut out for this, well, better to know now, rather than finding out after months down the road.
I have to tell you... after the first few chapters, the comments were few and far between. Most of them relating back to characterization, which I already knew needed some work with my MC, but otherwise, it wasn't as big a pill to swallow, as I had made it out to be!
Today is our first real call. Today we are going to go over the edits, and hopefully by the end of our call, I will be ready to dive back in. I'm feeling confident, positive, and still fractionally overwhelmed with the work ahead of me. I am excited to finally be over this first step, and moving in the right direction.