Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Words Given Today

Ta-Dah! I completed the project and celebrated by sleeping in today. That explains why I’m posting later than usual.
            Yesterday afternoon, I sent the author the copyedited manuscript + a dog-eared style sheet + a nine-page memo. I spent five hours composing, proofing, and polishing it. I was supposed to have the manuscript to the author by December 23; I may miss that date, but not by much.
            The manuscript necessitated somewhat heavy copyediting. The author will decide what to accept of my suggested changes. She’ll then insert them into the computer file. Sometime in January, she’ll send the manuscript back to me for proofing and minor copyediting. At that time, I’ll also copyedit the numerous footnotes she’ll have complied.
            You may wonder perhaps why I’m still doing this work at age seventy-five. The answer is simple: I like to copyedit. I become a sleuth discovering dates and ages that don’t agree, names misspelled, words that long to be lowercased. Finding the relevant rule in the Chicago Manual of Style is like wandering a maze with a Sherlock Holmes’ magnifying glass. DJan will know what I mean because of her editing career.
            Liking my work is one aspect of accepting projects. The other is my desire to move back to Minnesota. The money I earn on this project will help me hire a moving van. I lived in Stillwater for thirty-eight years before moving back, at age seventy-two, to my birthplace. Slow of wit, I hadn’t realized that the North had become home to me. Now, three years later, I yearn to be back there.
            If all goes well, I’ll put my home on the market in March 2012. Who knows how much time will pass before a buyer recognizes my abode as a haven? Once that happens, I’ll find a place in Minnesota where I can spend the remainder of my life.
            And yet . . . and yet, I must admit today that I’m ready to give up editing projects. I hanker to be published again. Right now, I have rough drafts for three novels—one takes place in first-century Palestine, one inhabits bronze-age Greece, one follows the paths of four ex-nuns. I’ve also completed four books on cats—from a fantasy to a self-help book for felines. All await an agent and a publisher.

            Writing, as you know, is labor. But for those of us who love the written word, it is a labor of love. Just today I spoke with Elise, whose book The Golden Sky was published in November. We agreed that characters often surprise us. Unbidden, they arrive in our consciousness, insisting on sharing their lives with us. They make themselves present to us. That is why, perhaps, for me, writing is prayer. I am never more in the present and in Presence than when I write.
            Your blog comments have helped me decide to return to writing my own manuscripts. We writers don’t spend hours writing so as to fill up a file drawer. We want our manuscripts to be read and enjoyed. Given that, I’ve decided that in 2012, I’ll retire from editing the work of others and return to my own writing. I’ll try to find an agent to represent my work. That won’t be easy, because finding an agent is difficult in today’s publishing world. Composing a captivating query demands a skill I may not have.
            But as Dulcy says in her book, “At the end, all that matters is love.” I truly love to write. This blog allows me to do that, but I have so many stories I want to share with others—stories of characters who demand entrance into reality.
            I hadn’t expected to write all this today. I was going to continue the saga of getting published. But these words came; I accept them with gratitude. On Saturday I’ll return to A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story and share with you my first reading at the Stillwater library.
            Tomorrow I’ll begin to comment on your blogs. I’ll need several days to catch up, but I look forward to discovering what’s been happening in your lives while I’ve been gone.


  1. Good Morning, Dee!
    Well, I am excited to hear that you finished your project! It was also fun to hear your future plans of getting back to writing toward publishing, (I can't wait to read more!) and the move back to Minnesota. My husband's parents are both from Minnesota and we absolutely loved our vacation spent with his family.

    As for me, I am truly on vacation, sleeping in (sometimes until 7 am!) relaxing with Kailyn and David, and awaiting Christmas Eve when Jessica will be home for a week.

    Keep telling those stories! We all love to read them!

    Blessings to you!

  2. You may need an agent & a publisher, but you ALREADY have an audience! I would love to read one of your novels--& the self help book for cats sounds wonderful. May I preorder, please?

  3. I am actually on a blogging break, but I just couldn't resist taking a quick peek this evening to see whether any posts grabbed my attention. Needless to say, as soon as I spotted yourst whilst scrolling down my reading list, I had to pop round and say hello! I'm so happy for you. It sounds as though 2012 is going to draw many good things towards you and I am delighted to hear you'll be writing in earnest again. This is absolutely your heart's yearning and you do need to honour this gift of yours. You have garnered some wonderful support out here and we'll be cheering you all the way.

    My book has not arrived yet, but I'm not fussed. It will get here when it gets here :)

    It's time to have our evening meal now. At 8:20pm, it's still not quite dark. I love these summer evenings :)

    Have a Happy Christmas, Dee! You deserve a complete break for this weekend at the very least!

    Big hug,
    Des xoxo

  4. Sxciting to hear that you are going to focus on your own work!
    The fantasy book sounds awesome!

  5. Glad you got done with that section of the editing. I hope that 2012 will be the year that you will find your perfect agent and publisher! I'm glad you are going to be back writing your own stories. Hurray!

    Stillwater is a beautiful little town. Always loved visiting there in the summers. And, of course, Minnesota is birthplace and home to me. Can't blame you for missing it. ;)

    Merry Christmas! Cuddle those kitties for me! :)

  6. So glad the job is finished for now, Dee, and you can get on with your own projects. However, I'm glad you're still able to earn money this way to enable you to fulfil your dream of moving back to Minnesota.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your writing after the festivities. Have a happy and peaceful Christmas with your beloved cats.

  7. I am so enjoying Dulcy's story, parceling bits of it out to myself as a treat. And yes, I do know the enjoyment of copyediting, and all the ways a good copyeditor makes a manuscript much better. References, footnotes and indexes were my favorite things. But I don't hanker much to go back to that; once in a great while someone will ask me to edit something, so I don't mind, but I think I'm beginning to lose my edge for detail, and I'm only 69! :-)

  8. Oh, it is so nice to hear your project is finished. I love to read the excitement oozing between and through your words, Dee, at what you do and what you want to do and your love of writing. Isn't it wonderful to have that urge to just want to sit down and write?

    Rest up and I'll be looking for more on Dulcy and, well and MORE of Dee Ready!

  9. Copyediting is a definite talent and in demand, but I'm glad you've made the decision to return to your own writing projects, Dee. We put off what we really want to do far too often. Your projects all sound interesting -- but the cat books and the book about four ex-nuns are of special interest to me! You really do have a built-in audience!

  10. I enjoy editing because it makes me happy to point out other people's errors and actually get paid for it. I would do it for free. Dealing with details makes my OCD sparkle.


  11. You are doing what you love and that's why the blog just got long. I wish you success nat your new endeavour. Have a happy holiday.

  12. I'm happy to know more about how your editing is fueling your resources to make a big move this spring. I learn something new about you all the time! I do a great deal of editing in my work, and like you, it's a favored activity. Sometimes i've been embarrassed to discover that I don't turn it off. I once edited a form in a doctor's office--the woman sitting at the front desk was not amused at my effort. I will be eager to cheer you on as you find an editor for your manuscripts. I am sure you will! Debra

  13. All of your books sound amazing. You have an awesome talent and I'm so glad you're going to start pursuing this again. What's neat about the books you've written is that they would appeal to so many different people! I think you could reach such a wide audience. The one I'm most excited for is the story about the ex-nuns ;)

    P. S. Thank you for mentioning me. You're so sweet :0)

  14. Sandi,
    Thank you for your encouragement. I'm so glad to learn that you are sleeping in! For me that means beyond 8:30--so 7 am sounds like the middle of the night.

    Oh, if only I can find an agent who wants to represent my work and who is as supportive as you are. Pre-order indeed!!!!

    I so liked your turn of phrase: "writing in earnest." Yes, that is exactly what I plan to do. Thanks so much for your encouragement and for reading this posting today. Peace.

    The fantasy book is like nothing I've ever written. I have no idea whether it will ever see the light of publishing!

    Thank you for the good wishes about the agent and the publisher. When Dulcy's book was published in 1992, I thought that getting anything else I wrote would be easy. How wrong I was. I've tried for years to get published again, but somehow I don't seem to be writing what agents are looking for.

  15. Perpetua,
    I so look forward to finding out what you and others have been doing and what you've posted about your lives. I never realized when I began to blog back in May how attached I would become to so many other blogs and of course, to the "bloggers"!

    You really do like the details don't you! References, footnotes, indexes!
    People I meet ask me to read their manuscripts and I've always done that but now I'm thinking that even that will be done selectively from now on.

    How kind you are. Thank you for recognizing "the excitement oozing between and through" my words. I am excited about 2012!

    The novel about the four ex-nuns is really in only a first draft. Lots of work left to do. I'm glad you reminded me about the audience. You, too, have an audience waiting for your cat memoirs and your own.

    What is OCD? I've never been good on abbreviations and I don't text. So is this a shortcut on texting???? Please let me know!

  16. KleinsteMotte,
    You're right. I love to write and I tend to get wordy. So I also need to be ruthless about cutting extraneous words.

    I love the story of your editing the forms in the doctor's office. I do the same thing! It's an occupational hazard. Before I get an editor, I need to find an agent to represent my work. I've been trying to do that for almost fifteen years. It would seem that my topics are not what agents are looking for.

    I have all those topics because I'm interested in so many things. But I'm beginning to think that finding an agent is almost impossible for historical novels about 1st century Palestine and Bronze-Age Greece!

  17. I often say, when people ask, that I don't write because I want to. I write because I can't NOT write.

    So pleased you're returning to what you love best - writing and Minnesota. I have a hunch it will all work out just as it's meant to.