There are parts of the writing life I love, parts I tolerate, and parts I loath. Even combined they still make for a pretty cool existence, but, if I could get rid of a necessary evil, it would be proofreading.

Writing itself is usually fun. Even when it’s not, it’s still bearable. There are going to be unavoidable instances of writing myself into a corner or having to think through complicated passages. While that is in no way enjoyable, it does feel really good to get past a stuck spot and get back into the flowing word stream. The writingwriting life version of this too shall pass…or fly…or zoom…or soar, depending on what genre or sub thereof is involved.

The business end I tolerate. It’s a drag, it eats into writing time, and it can come with gutwrenching disappointment. I eventually found a system of record keeping that works well enough for me to take some of the drudgework out of that necessity. Instead of trying to force myself to set up and maintain spreadsheets or attempt any kind of computerized data entry, I’ve gone old school. I use a spiral bound hardcover undated dayplanner to keep a highly detailed, consistent record of submissions, responses, and their dates. Having a physical, tactile place to refer to helps me keep things straight and hopefully not embarrass myself or irritate an editor with a ridiculous mistake. They still happen, but very rarely. I think if I left it to computer lists, I’d be in trouble. I do keep meticulous computer backups of things like synopses, proposals,
queries, and covers, which has to be done in the interest of the tree population, though it leaves me vulnerable to the glitchapalooza that tends to be the bane of my computerized existence. That this stuff that has to be tolerated sometimes comes with an end result like advancing in a writing or screenwriting competition, or an actual sale, makes the toleration much more tolerable.

My loathing of proofreading dates from the earliest of school paper writing and grows exponentially over time and wordage. Novel writing really exacerbates the annoyance level. There are only so many times a sane person can read through their own 100,000k+ novel and retain said sanity. Screenwriting brings a new level of frustration, with formatting errors vying for attention.

At the moment I’m weeding out the typo infestation in the novella that didn’t want to be finished until recently. Finishing the writing led to the seemingly unending battle against weirdly typoed simple words. Stuff like cradled inexplicably spelled cradeled or leaned spelled leanded. I’m actually just on the second read through. I keep telling myself I’ll read until the next typo, having that be the next sentence, and walking away for a while. Those whiles add up fast.

The worse part of proofreading is a step beyond mere typo hunting. It comes when I’m really happy with what I’ve written, like with this novella, and having every typo yank me out of my absorption in the story. Until I’m on the fourth readthrough, that is. Then I can’t get through no matter what it is fast enough. Which is a pity, since as we all know…there’s always another typo.