OK, I honestly sat on this topic for a while. I thought, maybe this is just me? Perhaps I’m the only one? But after connecting with so many writers in the community, I now feel that this is a topic that needs to be discussed, and we need to take a moment and remember: WE ARE NOT PERFECT.
There, I said it!
We are not. I can’t even begin to list all the responsibilities one has an author that goes beyond writing a book. We hire designers, we hire editors, and then we throw our babies out into the world in hopes they will be handled with care or loved as much as we love them. BUT even with crossing all the boxes off the publishing list, and doing everything exhaustively, there can still be hiccups. There can still be issues that we encounter along the way that makes us stop in our tracks and panic! Because when a book goes out into the world, there are so many fears that writers feel. Will they like it? Will they hate it? What if I get a terrible review? What if? WHAT IF?
If you think that feeling that way is a piece of cake, you have another thing coming.
First, I have edited manuscripts in the past. As an English major and creative writing enthusiast, I helped assist writers in finding issues with plot, character development, etc. But I have also helped with the more not-so-glamorous part, which dealt with punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Being on both sides of the writing coin, we see things from different perspectives. Writers simply create a story and find the discipline to put it all onto paper. But it’s not that simple. It’s hard work. It’s a process that requires endless hours of developing small intricate details that, if we are lucky, string together seamlessly into a story that makes sense. I can’t tell you how loud a writer’s brain is. There is so much going on inside of it that sometimes, it’s hard to say to your characters, “One at a time!” One time, I literally was trying to type one idea on my laptop while simultaneously writing an idea down into a notebook.
Now, let’s say that the story is done. And when I say “done”—I mean you have written a beginning, middle and end— a writer, now begins a series of personal editing and development. However, they catch only what their eyes can see. I word it this way because, as writers, we have trained ourselves to know how the story should read; therefore, sometimes our eyes play tricks on us, and we miss errors because we have gone blind to them. It doesn’t mean the writer is a terrible writer; it just means that out of 85,000 words or more, we missed a few things.
THIS is why having another set of eyes (professional eyes) to comb through the book is essential because they are not blinded. They can see things as they are because they haven’t read the manuscript a hundred times, day in and day out—like the writer has. But alas, they too can miss things. It happens. Why? Because they are human, too.
Why am I rattling on about this? Well, because lately, this has been a topic of discussion. Does perfection exist? Is there such a thing? Honestly, to me, there isn’t.
Second, with plot holes, I think it comes down to the reader and what their idea of closure is. Not every reader needs the same ending to feel satisfied, which is why I think that reviewers are quick to say they don’t like the ending of a book sometimes. One of my dear writer friends had a review on this very issue. The first thing he thought was, “why are they so upset? There is going to be a sequel?” But the point of the matter is, we as writers, will never please every reader. We will have bad reviews; we will have good reviews. We will be someone’s favorite author and someone’s least favorite. It’s just the way the pen hits the paper.
My intention for this post is to reach every one of my writer friends, and those of you considering to write a book yourself, to know that you are not perfect—and that’s OK. At the end of the day, we must be proud of what we have done and that we did everything we could to make our stories available, loved, and shared with the world. It makes us vulnerable to both positive and negative criticism. It opens a part of ourselves up that we never knew existed, and with that, it doesn’t always come with rainbows and butterflies.
Take a moment, be proud, and know that you did something incredible. You wrote a book! And not many people can say that.