Well, I got my editor’s notes regarding my draft memoir on Friday. In an attempt to prepare myself for the worst, I imagined all the negative things she could have written. None of those things came to pass. She also did not declare the book the greatest thing she’d ever read. I knew there’d be room for improvement in the draft and apparently she thought so too.
Now that I’ve had a few days to digest our phone call, her five page letter and the notes on the manuscript itself, I’ve decided a few things. Number one, there were very few instances where I didn’t agree with her edits. Number two, although the story is about me, my life is not being critiqued. I’ve worked way too long on this project to publish anything less than the best writing I can muster. I’m a little shell shocked finding out how far off the mark I was, but I’ll get over it. Sorry to be vague about the feedback, but I haven’t developed enough of a writer’s callus to roll with the punches quite yet.
The subject, my struggle with mental illness, is not a recent happening. I’ve been immersed in that world for a long time. I have, however, been public about my version of bipolar disorder only recently. It feels like Bambi discovering a frozen pond for the first time. The telling requires a lot more than simple honesty and unfortunately it came out more clumsily than anticipated. I guarded those details and feelings from everyone for a long time. I am still differentiating between the story and the structure that needs to be in place to effectively tell the tale.
One thing I was told in an early writing class was, “You can fix bad writing. You can’t fix what you haven’t written.” On the bright side, I have plenty of ideas to take the book in a new direction.
I had a beautiful mini-vacation this past weekend with my husband and we took in the sights of fall color in northern Minnesota. I’m refreshed and eager to get back to work.