I took a break for a few days last week. Working 10 hour days, getting in the rhythm around what should be my bedtime… It wasn’t working. I felt sick and tired and there are only so many times you can fall asleep on top of a computer before you have to ask yourself, “What am I doing?”
Tomorrow is officially fall, though. I still have 10,000 words to edit; I’ve failed to meet my goal. Good news is, I’m loving what this story is shaping up to be. I keep thinking of little additions every few days. If there is an upside to a slow editing process, it’s that every time I look at my manuscript, I’m looking at it with fresh eyes. I think that forcing yourself to work through 5,000 words like a machine does more harm than good.
I will say, though, I follow a lot of Twitter users who post writing tips. Grammar is huge among them. I love the tips, but God forbid someone say “did” instead of “had done.” These posts give me mini-heart attacks. I don’t take grammar conventions seriously when I write. My narration and dialogue sound pretty real. I use words you’d hear in real life. I write like the average person speaks. After my mini-heart attack, I recover and remember all the flowery and mechanically-sound prose I’ve edited over the years. Equally distracting, if not more. I’ll just write for my audience, whoever they turn out to be.
I started considering what a good book cover might look like. I’m leaning toward something white and minimal, but at the same time, that’s not what I want at all. It’s just what I’m capable of. I know what I want. It’s going to require a sunny day with a camera and a good photo editing program. Possibly some technical help from my boyfriend, aka The Photoshop Wizard. I’ve given literally zero thought to the spine and back of the book, though. I have text to write for that. An inside cover. Do I want to include my photograph? There are a lot of important decisions to make.
After my break last week, I was very excited to get working over the weekend. Then my 23andme report came back and revealed to me that I’m not 100% white. I’m roughly 10% Hispanic and hardly Native American at all. I took that data and entered it into Promethease, which told me about all sorts of disorders I’m predisposed to, as well as the extremely high likelihood that I can’t process folate/folic acid at all. That’s pretty darn important. I would have never known if I hadn’t taken a genetic test. Now I can speak with a doctor about blood tests and next steps. The entire process has been like something out of a science fiction novel and it brought my relatives together to talk about family history, both medical and biographical (VERY distorted!). Whole weekend = gone.
Tonight, I packed my things for a vacation and am writing this post. I’ll edit, at most, a page and a half. After I come back from vacation, I will be working 7-5 again and a night that might go to 8PM or later. I’ll most likely have to work that Saturday, as well. It’s going to be a hard push on these last 10,000 words.
Speaking of work… I have been exhausted enough to actually ask my boss to work less hours. He was receptive, but some overtime is mandatory. That’s fine. I have some wonderful, hard-working clients who give me enough work to guarantee that I need to put in the extra hours just to stay sane. I did $145,000 in sales by myself last month. I won’t say how much profit I earned the company, but it’s a lot.
What’s my salary? It’s over $10,000 less than what’s projected for 2016 graduates. Google it. I’m not shy. To be honest, I don’t know anyone making dough like that straight out of school, or even two years out of school. What’s grinding my gears at this precise moment is that someone coming on board at my work doing my exact job (with a different title, and no experience) will be earning about $22,000 more than me. That’s huge. That isn’t about bargaining or skill or even something as simple as being a man in a man’s industry. That’s systemic failure. The funnest part: I wasn’t supposed to find out.
But I did.
This is what this book is all about – exposing ourselves and the American workforce. If I Let You Go is completely allegorical. Some people will hate that, and I understand. It’s an intense story. Unless all my publishing dreams come true, though, I’m not going to be able to escape what’s behind the story. We all have to work. We all have to put up with shit. I just want people to take an honest look at themselves and ask, “What am I doing?”