I have to laugh at myself. I learned that lesson long ago. Tonight I smirk at myself, reminding myself of that rule again. I still laugh and I mean it when I do.
I’m camped out in my recliner with a Patriots throw wrapped around my legs more against the heat of the laptop than the chill of the New England winter. I have one window open, trying to create a blog entry worthy of what my dear friend Carrie calls a “grown-up blog” and another open to her Yahoo chat. She has two short stories that she wants to send to contests and/or magazines but she’s worried (as I think every writer is) that the stories aren’t quite ready.
When is enough enough? How much editing does it take to get to a polished manuscript? I know that’s not a question I can answer. Being rather compulsive myself, my worry is editing to the point of losing the creative voice to technical structure. Not enough editing makes us look unprofessional while too much risks chasing the Muse away with her hands thrown up in frustration an annoyance.
That’s not my point – just my personal pet peeve. I never know when enough is enough.
Tonight, I’ve spent more time convincing her that she has a talent that she should expose to the world than I have writing this entry. “Try it!” I typed over and over and over again.
Later she said, “I hate all of you.” It was the reaction I wanted. Then, “Everyone has said the same thing.”
Yes. Bingo. Everyone can’t be wrong.
Well, they can. Without a doubt, they can. But, in this situation, they are absolutely right.
Why then, you may ask, did I lead off with laughing at myself?
I laugh because I dished out all kinds of genuine encouragement to a fellow writer and yet I haven’t followed my own advice. I took a big personal leap last year by picking a couple of short stories and editing them with a critical eye. I picked up a book on magazine markets for fiction. I’ve yet to put anything in the mail.
My dad often said, “Do as I said, not as I do.”
Try it, Pia. Try it. No more excuses, wench.