Okay, so here’s the thing: I’m kinda, sorta stuck in Editing Hell. Yeah, that’s a thing. Crammed somewhere between the Hell of the Upside Down Sinners and the Hell of Being Skinned Alive, I think. You know what hell is like, right? Have you lived in a prison made of your own existential dread? Sure you have. Welp, that’s what Editing Hell is like. And do you want to know the worst part of Editing Hell? It makes you want to quit. Boy, do I ever want to quit. I just want to slam down my laptop cover, douse it in lighter fluid and toss a lit zippo at it and walk away in slow-mo. I’ve also contemplated biting my laptop. Biting it. Yeah, Editing Hell is a real thing.
So, you say, why not just pack it in? Trunk it, shelf it? Well, I suppose I could. I mean it would save me some heartache, some stress induced fever dreams (stay away from me you weird skinless Platypus). I’d also be able to move on to something else, and what writer doesn’t have other ideas to pursue? Those precious, fresh baubles that hit our eyes and have us screaming “shiny,” as our hands fumble across their nubile surface like some kind of drunk vampire eager on a busty college co-ed. It’s a case of that inner voice that calls out like Smegol crying for his precious just to tell you that there is something better on the horizon, something easier. And really, the endorphin release that comes with a shiny, new project is as real as Editing Hell. That excitement, that joy which comes with starting a new project may even end up helping you be way more productive. Day after day you churn out words by the bucket. Until you don’t. Aye, there’s the rub. You see, eventually, a shiny project will become tarnished too. And what happens then? Trunk another project? Chase something else shiny and new? Maybe, but what does that leave me with? Two projects that aren’t finished, that’s what it leaves me with. That and wasted time.
What’s a poor writer boy to do? Welp, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and it all comes down to a quote from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (a criminally underrated movie). In it, old Batman tells new Batman how he fought the Joker in the past, saying: “Joker's vain and likes to talk. He'll try to distract you, but don't listen. Block it out and power on through.” Gold. I encourage you to use that quote in the future. Apply it to everything. Everything.
Anyway, the point is, listen to Batman.
Suffering through Editing Hell? “Power on Through”.
Tempted by something shiny and new? “He’ll try to distract you, but don’t listen. Block it out”.
Your buddy, Shaun, wants you to go for a hike? Shaun’s “vain and likes to talk”. Well, maybe not that last one, but c’mon Shaun – we’re trying to write here.
Essentially, don’t give up on your novel. It’s worth the effort, but boy will it give you a hard time. Here’s the thing about hard times though, at the end of all those hard times there is usually something good waiting for you.
School is hard, but what’s at the end? A diploma, a degree, and maybe some job opportunities.
Working out is hard, but you end up with a nice toned body and an ass comparable to America’s ass (go see Endgame).
Writing a book is hard, but if you push through the doldrums of it, you get a finished novel full of hopes and dreams, well-developed characters and satisfying story arcs, and maybe even some deep thematic goodness to thrill and impress.
So, what are you going to do the next time you get bogged down in Editing Hell or any of its related devils (Writer’s Block and Plotting Hell)? You’re going to push through and do it anyway. And hey, don’t want to listen to me? Listen to old Batman. He says to “block it out and power on through."
Check out the launch of Jon Dobbin's first novel, The Straving, May 16 at Geeks Public House! All are welcome, Facebook event for the launch is located here. We hope to see you there!