Rewriting

Writing is hard. It’s not tarring-a-roof-in-a-Georgia-summer hard, not digging-ditches-and-shifting-concrete hard, but doing it right isn’t exactly easy, either.  But it’s also fun and incredibly rewarding.  There is no better feeling than Having Written.  That’s right, I said no better feeling.  I stand by that.

But Rewriting? Editing?

That’s where an author shows their skill, that’s where the work is. That’s the hard part, where the money is earned. It’s the part that makes me start crying like a little kid lost in a mall. Makes me want to run back to a lab bench saying, “I’ll never leave you again, I didn’t mean it baby.  I’m so sorry, give me another chance.”  Rainin pipettes and Eppendorf tubes are calling, and I know they’d take me back.

But that’s not where I belong.

I’m sitting on half a dozen short stories that I  know have a good core.  They have promise, and with some rewriting, spit and polish, and hard effort, they could be publishable.  One or two might even be great.

But they need that effort, and there’s so much else that easy and near to hand and mindless that I could turn to instead, telling myself that my brain just needs to process it for a while, it needs back-burner time to parallel process as a background application.  And I’ve been turning to that for far too much of the last three months.

I’ve been quiet on here and not writing much since getting back from Odyssey.  There’s a lot of life stuff getting in the way.  No after school care for the kids, a lot of shuttling to music lessons and such. Some health issues.  So I haven’t been putting in the hours.

I have been getting some writing and submitting done, though.  In the last week, I’ve gotten a very sweet personalized rejection from one big name magazine editor, and a rewrite request from a second.

It’s time to shift that balance.  To spend more of my time leaning hard against the grindstone, and less of it warming the bench.

This week is Thanksgiving, and there’s much to do.  But I am making it a point to finish the requested rewrite this week before all the relatives and wife’s co-workers come over.  Mixed in with all the house cleaning and food shopping and cooking, I am going to finish this story and send it back.

And next week?  I am finishing editing another one.  In among the leftovers and feeling bloated and cleaning up from the frollicking, I am going to finish editing another story.  I’ve had the text document open on my desktop -untouched- nonstop for over six weeks.  And next week I am going to finish it.

Hold me to that.  I beg you.  Call me out here, on Facebook, Twitter.  Ask me if I’ve finished and submitted.  If I dither, press me on why.  I’ve got work to do.

Here I Go,

Matt

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About Matthew Shean

Matthew Shean is the author of several forthcoming novels and myriad short stories. He received his Ph.D. from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York, NY, and spent 20 years as a research scientist throughout the northeastern United States. He now lives in Long Island (against his will), with his loving family and disdainful cats.
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