Writing a book is like trying to piece together two different sides of yourself: The optimist and the pessimist. The optimist is the side that does the writing, the side who tells you to keep going with every rejection letter (or lack of response). The side that is encouraging and kind. The pessimist is the side that does the editing. It nags. It tells you the book isn’t good enough. You need to fix this bit, and that bit, and for God’s sake, why don’t you just fix the whole damn thing?
I’ve been editing for quite a while now, and to be honest, I’m a bit fed up with the pessimist. I’m flat on energy right now. And frankly, that’s not surprising considering I’ve been trying to look after my husband who just had surgery, keep up with my studies, and (of course) continue my edits every evening.
So, I’ve been trying to be kind to myself these last two weeks. I have still been working on editing The Price of Pandemonium, but I’m taking it slow. Giving myself the break which I so desperately need. The pessimist is useful in pointing out weak points in the book, but I need the optimist to show me the light, too, and to comment on the pieces that are genuinely great writing.
Slowly, I’m finding ways to mediate between the two warring sides. They’ve both got to be heard. If you listen to the pessimist too much, you get down, like I have. You lose motivation. If you listen to the optimist too much, your writing becomes stagnant, and doesn’t improve. These two colleagues, the optimist and the pessimist, they don’t get along. But with some strong leadership, they can produce some really great stuff.