I vowed to myself not to mope and whine on the internet as much, but this week has made it tough. Mostly I’ve avoided the internet, because sometimes you just get hit.
Thursday night I got a bunch of feedback returned from my beta readers. Awesome, a few days early!
And then I opened it. The one wasn’t bad. She enjoyed the story, had suggestions for cultural things (which is why I wanted her to read it) and a few pointers. Not bad.
The two other readers “ran out of time” to finish the story. I realize that people have lives (I recently bailed on a beta, though I hadn’t even started). But when the two people tear into your story the most ‘ran out of time’, it feels very much like the dreaded DNF mark. But OK, that’s part of being a writer. After reading their notes, though, one of which pretty much said it needed a complete re-write, I felt…blasted. The deadline for the call I’m trying to hit is at the end of March. I’ve done edits after edits to this piece (growing it from 8.5K to 12K). And I just…wasn’t sure I had the energy to do everything they wanted.
Like, maybe this is a story that’s never meant to see the light of day. I tried something new, and it didn’t work. That happens. Maybe it’s time to let it die and move on. Or set it aside for long enough to really do a complete re-write.
I’m not sure I’ve come to a decision yet.
Heavy edits never make you feel great, and of course this tossed me into the “I am a shit writer who will amount to nothing” mood. But I watched the last five episodes of Tokyo Ghoul season 1 and coped.
Friday morning I got a text from one of my old coworkers, telling me to call her when I had a minute. I thought it was weird, but didn’t think much of it. And then I called. She wanted me to know that my old boss, who was in his fifties with a kid in college, had passed away the day before.
This man was nice, and funny, and just generally a great mentor. He and I were in the same writing group (which I joined when I left the company). He’d just had a birthday. It’s so unexpected and strange that I’m still just shocked. Our editorial team was tiny and a tight group, even as we went our different ways.
And then this morning, life has to go on. Which I know is cliche. And it’s not like my boss was a relative, but I did spend five days a week, eight hours a day, for eight years with him. So it’s weird and my joints feel out of place. And I keep thinking of his kids and his siblings and my heart goes out to them.
And yet life goes on. I have edits to do, and writing to do, and a birthday party I really don’t want to do.
And life goes on.