Highs and Lows and Mediums

Being a writer, and I don’t mean to sound pretentious when I say that, means dealing with highs and lows. Being human means the same thing, I guess, and writing highs and lows fall pretty squarely in the “Not Fatal” category.

Still, the lows hurt. One minute you’re up (and it seriously lasts about a minute) and the next you’re down. Way down there. In a cave, and you hate caves, and are claustrophobic, actually.

This week I got a package with my two new books inside. They have gorgeous covers and contain books I’m proud of, and I can’t wait for them to be out in the world. They took grit, determination and pounds of flesh. Wait, maybe they gave me pounds of flesh. Well, anyway.

Later the same day I got an editorial letter about the book I’m working on now. It was long. It was painful. The manuscript’s not working yet and I knew that, but when somebody else says that… you want to give up writing. Forever. I let myself wallow overnight, like a pizza dough that you stick in the fridge to rise. It’s not going to rise quickly because it’s too cold. But it’ll get there.

The next day I thought about how I always give people the advice of learning to like revision. I’ve even said crazy things like, “I love revision!” — in public. There’s not video proof, but there could be, which is the same thing.

I cannot be a fraud. If I said this, I probably meant it on some level. So I have to suck it up and start fixing this book, again, for what feels like the 100th time. And that’s how you end up at the mediums.

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