I enjoy editing. It's something that, for whatever reason, I really enjoy doing. I will spend hours every day poring over a manuscript and doing everything in my power to make someone else's work really shine. I'll use all of my abilities and learn as I go in order to do an even more complete job on my next job, and repeat the process again and again. I study manuals of style and search for obscure rules so I can make sure the edits I am doing are correct. It is part of my job, but even still, I do enjoy doing it. I am not right in the head, but since that irregularity benefits others, I figure what's the point in fixing it?
So when I sent my recently completed first draft out to a handful of my colleagues with the instruction to rip it apart, I had a small part of me say:
"Heh. There won't be anything for them to rip apart because THIS IS SO AWESOME IT DOESN'T NEED IMPROVEMENT!" *fist bumps with self*
To say I had deluded myself would be an understatement. No book leaves the author's hands ready for publication. I know this. As a matter of fact, as a professional editor I know this fact first hand from working on other manuscripts. I am not a fan of absolutes because I've found them to be hyperbole most of the time. However, in this specific case I am comfortable saying I have never received nor seen an unedited manuscript that doesn't need some work. The level of work varies, to be sure, but not once have I held a manuscript in my hands and not had work to do on it.
So why in the blue hell did I think mine would be any different? Logic would dictate that an editor doesn't need another set of eyes on their work because they are their own second set of eyes. This is wrong. I joke with friends about having my Editor Eyes on or off, but it doesn't work with my own stuff.
So when I started receiving honest feedback (and yeesh... much of it was very honest and pulled exactly zero punches) it shook me to my core. It took every fear and back-of-mind thought I had about my first full length novel and magnified it to the nth degree.
You're a terrible writer. What were you thinking? You spent years cranking this out and it's barely worth the hard disk space. You really should just dump it. There's no fixing it when it's a dumpster fire of donkey crap like this thing is. Your friends read it and then laughed themselves silly. You suck.
All of those were thoughts I had while sifting through the rubble that is my book. Many of them still run around my mind and moon me while giggling at my folly. I have opened my MS to work on it exactly twice since I received the bulk of the feedback. I need to though.
I'd like to end this on an upbeat note, but it doesn't appear to be leaning that way. In any case, I'll keep my head down and my hands moving across the keyboard until I finish my edits or my hands cramp up. Either way.