Why publish?  There’s no pot of gold at the end of this Reading Rainbow, and the ego-swelling fascination with seeing one’s name in print deflates once countless mistakes are revealed.  Dreaming of future success is detrimental, a mere distraction.  Instead, focus on editing the manuscript because after publishing, the piece is no longer yours.  Like a parent standing in their child’s dorm room on the first day of college, this is the last chance to sneak in a lifetime of advice.  Trim the excess, be concise, get to the point.  Edit.   

But how to edit?  First, realize your initial draft is complete shit.  Now get to work. 

The beauty of pessimism is motivation.  I’m not surprised nor disappointed that my manuscript needs countless revisions.  It’s verbose, repetitive and painful.  I mean, who would want to read a book about suicide and depression?  The book could be contagious and inadvertently encourage suicidal ideation.  Pessimism dictates no one will read it anyway.  Now get to work.

Edit first by making a list of words or phrases: 

     It         

          Was    

                It was             

                      It was like

Use the “Find” function to discover how many times a word appears.  I wrote “all” 664 times, about a hundred “things”, over two hundred instances of the introductory “Well,” or “Oh,” or “Yeah,” and 87 “fucks”.   That’s how people talk but amounts to terrible writing.  1394 cases of “was”?  Probably means I’m composing in the passive voice.  By the way, at the end of this torturous process, “it was” should occur exactly ZERO times!  

Pessimism allows for the revelation that an impossible task lays [sic, read “lies”] ahead.  Thus, the importance of a deadline, a moment when you’ll strike ENTER on the keyboard for the last time.  Hopefully, because another story is brewing and not due to exhaustion and the overwhelming sense of failure [sic, read “throw computer against wall and promise never to write again”].     

Pessimism is an underground cavern, a safe place to create rather than to focus on distracting outcomes.  Yet, writing in solitude prevents others from being helped by my literary endeavor.  My distant hope is that one man staying up late after losing his father or one woman awake through the night after losing her child will stop halfway through a passage and say, “I, too, feel utterly destroyed.  Maybe tonight I won’t kill myself.”   And if I can garner a little bit of attention for a small publishing house (https://harvardsquareeditions.org) that promotes socially-conscious, emerging authors, then right on.

Write on.