The finishing touches!

I just sent the final, endlessly revised, typeset manuscript back to my editor. I don't know if he will look over all of my finishing touches or simply convert it to a PDF. I made lots of minor revisions throughout the book. He has to be as ready to be done with this project as I am by now!

Since he sent me the typset file a week ago, I have read the entire book three additional times (making edits each time). The first time I reviewed it on my laptop and made changes as I read. Then I printed the entire manuscript to proofread on paper, making marks in red ink as I read. Then I made those changes to the file and reprinted the pages that had changed. Then I decided to read the whole printed manuscript one last time to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I made further minor changes and caught several things I had missed the third time through. This time, though, I moved back and forth from the printed version to the file as I read, making the changes to the file AND in red ink on the printed page.

Before I sent the file to my editor tonight, I reread several paragraphs to make sure I was satisfied that I couldn't say it any better or with any greater clarity. I really feel that this third run through was fruitful and I improved several passages a great deal with just a few added sentences.

However, at this point in my writing experience, I think that if I continued to read this book endlessly, I would probably continue to make minor changes endlessly. No matter how many times I review it, I always feel like perhaps I could say something a little better or a little more clearly. But I do feel confident that I have caught all the typos. (I sure pray I have!)

As I have pored over this text again and again, I have been reminded of words of wisdom from one of my English professors at Vol State. The class she co-taught combined Honors English with Honors US History. We studied and wrote about history. But we wrote lots and lots of papers and book reviews. All of our exams were essays. It was challenging, but stimulating. And since we were all honors students, we were all over-achievers who were up for the work. So the kind of lectures WE got from our professors were a bit different from the regular classes.

On this one occasion, our professor told us two important things to remember. First, she set a piece of paper down on the table and said, "This is my paper. This is me. I am not my paper and you are not YOUR paper. Remember that." Then she said, "No matter how many times you turn in a paper, have me critique it and then revise it, it will always feel like a work in progress. It can always be better. There is no such thing as a perfect paper. Sometimes you just have to lay it down and say it's good enough."

That's kind of how I feel tonight. It was so hard to let go of the manuscript, send it back to Geoff, and say (to myself) "I'm done." I actually had the thought that maybe I should read it through one more time just to be sure. But I'm not going to. I am going to follow the advice of my former professor and lay it down. It's good enough.

I hope to submit the file to the online publisher some time this week. Once it's submitted, it's a two week turn around for printed books.