I Just Stepped Off the Cliff

That’s how I feel. Like I just stepped off the edge of safety on to the world of fear. I just took that giant leap to send a significant short story to someone to edit for me. By significant, I mean over 2500 words. Okay, lame when associated with the word significant, but just follow along with me until something really great happens and we can get excited and terrified together. I have to wait to hear his answer on if he’s willing to edit it, but I am excited anyway.

It’s after 2:00 a.m. in my world. I’m old and thus tired by this time of night. Okay, I was tired by 9:00 p.m. but on a mission to get in two readings of this story, hours apart, to hope to catch any misspellings or grammatical errors myself first. And with every read, you change little things up. When I read the first time after two or three days have passed from the so-called final draft, I always find things that have to change. Often it’s a sentence structure or, whoops, I used ‘wasn’t’ in the last three sentences in a row. When I have more time, I let a full week or two, maybe more, pass before I do my first read through. Then most of the story has left my old lady mind and it’s like reading something new. As long as it feels new – meaning I can’t recall every sentence – I can catch a lot more little errors. I’d rather send my work to a beta reader or editor with as few errors as possible.

My sister, just 15 months younger, is a professor of English in Texas. She has her Ph.D. Yep, my little sister is a Doctor! I’m big time proud of her. But then I started thinking, she edits stuff students turn in all the time, sort of. Maybe I can get some free editing. Nope, she nixed it. Claims working from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 p.m. with all the papers and conferences keeps her too busy. Of course, I know that she really is that busy and too busy to do it for me, but it was worth a try, right?

I’ll tell you this much, the few things I’ve had edited – a couple of short stories, the first 123 pages of my novel – have made them significantly better stories than they were before. Always get an editor. Always.

Well, that clock is ticking and creeping up on 2:30 a.m. I know I’m so going to regret that I stayed up this late. I won’t get up to my alarm which means this former early-bird will sleep until 9:00 a.m. and feel like my day has gone to waste. But let’s chat again soon, eh?


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