Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Writing tips for today. It is so hard to trust an editor, even one you're paying.
This is a photo of a raging forest fire taken from my yard. We were building our house, getting ready to finish framing when a huge fire broke out fifteen miles away; the wind was coming toward us. We had planned to cover the house with stained cedar planks shaped like half logs, to give the classic log cabin look. They were already ordered. But fire knows no pride, and insurance companies will not cover a house under construction unless you are a licensed contractor. DIYers get no leeway. Everything we owned and every cent we had accumulated in 46 years was standing tinder in the path of the fire. We cancelled the cedar and ordered fireproof concrete clapboards. Okay looking, but not a log cabin. Before it reached us, the fire was squelched by rain and a change in wind direction. Nothing was lost except some sleep. Wait. Four years later, it was indeed the right choice.
When you write your epistle to the universe, I mean when you really put aside the author inside you, the ego, and write hard enough to weep, hard enough to hurt, when you tap into your own soul and lay it upon a page for others to see, you risk everything. No insurance. No backup. Trusting only your inner voice, you press forward and keep on, with winds of doubt circling and the smoke of sure failure swirling toward your very heart. Then, an editor - either one you've hired or one at the publishing company - tells you if you'd just change x to a y, or add abc, it will stand. And you are crushed. You WANT it the way you planned it. But you, dear writer, are amidst the forest, and standing in the trees admiring the plot, you may not have an inkling something is really not going to hold up. Save the original, but make the changes. Build it with fireproof instead of glamour. Trust the advice, and then wait. Put it aside. Wait a couple of months, then read the new version. Read the original. You'll know.

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