This was first published in April of 2014. You’ve read it often enough that it’s #9 on the countdown of Most Read Blog Posts. The irony of the title is not lost on me.
My editor writes to me, “I think the manuscript is in fantastic shape. I’m so pleased with the changes you’ve made, and at this point, I have very few comments left…. [It’s] nearly there, with very little left to address.”
That’s my cue. So, after something like two years, I work through this manuscript yet again for the—what?—two thousandth (or more) time. With a complex mixture of relief, elation, and despair, I find many things that I can make, need to make, better. There is relief that I find these things and can make adjustments. Elation that I can do something that will makes things better. Despair that I find these things at all.
I go through all my tricks: change of font, change of margins, changes in font size, change in background color, reading on the screen, reading on paper, reading out loud, reading to someone, but I still find these things. They are like lumps of coal working their way to the surface.
And always, always, the nagging worry: have I caught everything? Do I need to go through it one more time?
Have I caught everything? Of course I have not. Do I have to go through it one more time?
Of course I do.