If you’re a writer and you answered my title question, “yes,” then all I can say is, “Lucky you.” You can skip reading this post.
I rarely have much confidence in mine. I show up at the computer every day and I do the best I can with the characters and the plot and the prose. Sometimes I have fleeting moments when I believe the story is going well. Always I care about my characters and what is happening to them and how they will get out of the latest predicament. Sometimes a particular turn of phrase delights me.
However, by the time I turn in my WIP (work-in-progress), I have gone through it so many times, nothing about it seems special or unique or deserving of confidence. All of the writing seems dry as toast because I’ve seen it a gazillion (slight exaggeration) times. And after I turn it in, that isn’t the last time I will have to go through it. There are the substantive edits. Then there are the line edits. Then there are the copy edits. And finally there are the page proofs.
Is it any wonder why most writers don’t read their own books after they are published? (And if we do, we are sure to find something we would want to change if we had one more go at it.)
While awaiting the receipt of my line edits for Heart of Gold (Feb 2012) which are scheduled to arrive tonight, I have been proofing the copy edited documents for three of my out of print titles, The Forgiving Hour (awarded a rare 4½ Gold Star rating from RT Book Reviews), Whispers From Yesterday (winner of the Christy Award), and The Shepherd’s Voice (winner of the RITA Award). These books were originally published by WaterBrook Press in 1999 and 2000 and have been out of print for a number of years. Now they are returning via Zondervan, first as digital releases (Sept 2011) and later in print versions.
Well, I have to confess something: Put enough time between me and the process of writing and editing, and it is possible for me to not only like my own books again but to feel some confidence about them. With more than ten years between the last time I read them and now, it was almost like reading books by someone else. I was surprised by things that happened in the stories and I was drawn into the lives of the characters as a reader rather than a writer. What a treat!
So today, about these older titles at least, I can answer my own title question, “Yes!” I know this feeling will be fleeting. When my line edits of my latest WIP arrive tonight, confidence will fly away. But for now, I’m going to enjoy it.