Whenever I get feedback from my editor or copy editor, I quickly open the envelopes and read what they have to say. Then I walk away from their advice for a few days(sometimes a week.) Something powerful happens in that time period. I may be doing other things, but thoughts often drift to my story. Usually when I return to the notes, I'm ready to begin.
Two weeks ago when I received both the copy editor's and the historian's notes, I was a couple of days away from leaving for Shannon's graduation. My mind was consumed with that event. But I read the notes before leaving.
Last week, I started back to work. As I explained in an earlier post, I've been tackling the queries, bird by bird, page by page. Making the changes hasn't been too difficult--
Except for three scenes I need to rewrite to make them historically correct. (I will think twice before covering a twenty-six year span in a story again.) Yesterday I rewrote one of the scenes, but today I'm facing the others. The added pressure of already being late doesn't help.
So what's a writer to do?
Escape to the kitchen a few times to sneak a spoonful of cashew butter.
Watch the birds eat outside my kitchen window.
Light a candle.
Then it's back to work!
At this stage, it's important that I use the same color pencil for my changes. Since the copy editor chose red and my editor chose a regular lead pencil, I selected green. Directions on the copy edited notes request that all queries be answered with a sharp pencil. So whenever I get to those difficult parts, I stop and head toward the sharpener.
Several times in the last few days, I've misplaced that pencil.
Yesterday I was in a panic, searching for it. "Have you seen my pencil?" I asked Shannon.
She laughed. "It's behind your ear."
Was misplacing my pencil wishful thinking? I have an understanding editor, but I doubt she'd appreciate a call from me, stating, "I've lost my green pencil so the manuscript will be even later than I thought."
Such go the days of a procrastinating writer.
But even with all the dread of facing those difficult parts, I've awakened every day, feeling such gratitude for those notes and the people that cared enough to write them.