What Fresh Hell Is This?

A Medieval Editing Tool

A Medieval Editing Tool

The day started out great:  I finished the Sommelier Vest (that's the real name of the Pin Problem, by the way - pix and pattern are coming soon) last night, so today's list began with e-mailing Blackwater Abbey with that happy update.  I was gonna submit a design proposal to a magazine, post to the blog, start a presentation for my new class, maybe work on this little sock I've been ignoring...

Then all hell broke loose.

Backing up a bit, I will tell you that earlier this week I wrote the acknowledgments for my book.  This felt very much like the fat lady singing, in terms of completion: "I'd like to thank the Academy..."  There have been odd corrections, little questions from the editor here and there, but overall it seemed as if my writing maelstrom was behind me.  I know that the layout is getting done around now, but other than some vague project milestones, I have no clue what is happening to my baby.  The work of making the book is largely in the hands of skilled professionals, as it should be at this stage.  So even though I haven't met them and probably never will, there are scads of other humans collaborating with me.  The baby isn't just mine anymore, which is surreal, even if it is the whole point of the endeavor.

But this morning the first thing I did was open an e-mail from my editor containing a 4th version of my entire text.  Version 1 was mine.  Version 2 was my editor's.  Version 3 was a compromise between 1 and 2.  And now there is Version 4.  A more experienced author would have known to expect this; that I wasn't as close to finished as I thought.  A seasoned writer would not have been lulled into complacency by the deafening silence coming from the publisher.  This being my first time at the Rodeo though, I was unaware that it was time to hide in the barrel. 

It seems that Version 4 must be corrected by me into Version 5, TODAY.  Not next week.  Not whenever I get around to it.  Right Now-ish.

Version 4 was created by a whole new player, whom nobody told me was on the team.  And she's WAY SMART.  She's my technical editor, and in charge of finding problems in the writing like spelling and context, and the whole Way Knitting Works.  There is no getting away with being vague or faking anything with her, because she has an encyclopedic knowledge of my subject.  Not that this bothers me - I really want the book to be as good as it can be, and I have no doubt that the tech editor (I'll call her Ms. K) knows how to get it there.  It's just that it's so humbling to have somebody question your assertions.  I am totally sure of what I mean and how I said it.  Except when I'm not.  And Ms. K has this ninja-like skill for finding every single weak spot. 

So the real problem is not that a skilled professional has located chinks in my armor.  The problem is that I was emotionally caught unawares.  Today is the day that Ms. K's hard work causes me to shore up my weaknesses.  Today is the day that someone I have never met points out my weaknesses.  In case I'm not already unsure enough as a rank beginner, here is a person whose job it is to make sure I'm not full of crap.  Daunting bit of work, that.  How's that thick skin coming along now, Smarty McBraverton?

Obviously, I will need to spend some time separating ME (my personality, my feelings, my self-ness) from the THING I MADE (which is just a pile of work that I did).  Funny how hard that can be to get done: if the project came from inside of my head and (quite literally) out of my fingers, then how can it not always be an extension of me?  Kind of an emotional ass-kicker. 

At least I don't have time to wallow in introspection for long.  TODAY means TODAY, after all.  Better get over it and do what needs doing.  And then I'll promise myself Therapeutic Fiber.  I'm SO going yarn shopping.