Anyone remember that song? Yesterday I finally finished proofreading the manuscript. That means I finished reading aloud 412 pages of text -- backward. My voice is shot and my brain is gone. Proofreading provokes a particularly intense form of existential angst (hmmm....is that redundant??): Sitting there slogging my way from one page to the next, listening to my droning, increasingly raspy voice; becoming alarmed and unnerved by the number of typos; wondering how many of the bastards I'm MISSING as I read .....
..... I wondered: Why the HELL am I doing this? I just spent five years of my life on this book. No one will care. No one reads anymore. People who do read don't want to plunk down actual cash for books (remember: writers earn zero dollars from borrowed and used books). Down into the slough of despair I slid.
Yes, let's hear it for proofreading. Every writer's favorite activity! No wonder so many books are full of typos, misspelled words, dropped lines, and innaccuracies. Who in his or her right mind would knowingly subject him/herself to such torture??
Oh. Right. Because there's almost nothing as satisfying as writing a book; as exhilerating as creating something from nothing. So I guess proofreading is the writer's equivalent of labor pains: women give suffer fifty kinds of torture giving birth, and then that sweet little face blows the memory of that pain right out of their minds.
Yes, you guessed it: I'm chomping at the bit to start a new project so that, three or four years hence, I can sit at my kitchen table again for seven straight days reading several hundred pages of text aloud backward. Chomping at the bit to fall in love with writing all over again. What kind of FOOOLLLLL am I? Who [always falls] in love?