Doing It Right(Or, WHY this business drives us so completely nuts)
by Ila Campbell
Stephanie Rowe's article on taking care of your house in the Wet Noodle Posse e-zine (here) got me to thinking about houses and buying houses, since I'm trying to move back to the U.S. and thus will be forced to find a place to park my butt once I get there. It got me remembering when we bought the apartment we own now and how I drove the interior guys absolutely nuts because I expected everything to be done right, goshdarnit (hey, it's a p.c. blog) and if it's not done right, you're darn well going to do it over again. Why? Because I know how to do it myself, and if I'm going to pay someone else to do it, they had better do as good a job as I would myself.
My point is not that I'm a big pain in the tuckus or that I terrorize hapless wallpaperers. My point is that I fit personality profile #1 of writers -- we're control freaks.
Yeah, shocker, right?
No, but really -- think of it. We create and control our books with our words. We craft them meticulously and in our own little worlds, WE ARE ALWAYS RIGHT! Yes, if we put the words down that this is the way something happened, it is truth, it is fact, just because the author has put those words on paper.
It's a heady feeling, isn't it?
But that's where the trouble starts, you see. Because we are demi-gods and worldbuilders, we feel the need to expand our dominion, like Lex Luther or Dr. Evil. We will go out and conquer the publishing world and finally our true genius will be recognized. We will be revered! Lesser mortals will bow down before us! (insert appropriately evil laugh here).
Then WHAM! We run up against the wallpaperers of the publishing world: agents. We're "paying" them to do a job because they have the tools we don't, and the skills, like where to get the best discounts or materials, but we go after them, looking over their shoulders because we want it done RIGHT, goshdarnit. So we look over their shoulders, second-guess their jobs, because every step is not under our control or being followed according to our design.
Because, guess what -- it's not our world after all. (gasp. horror.)
Same with cover artists. Or the marketing department. Or payroll. (Editors are in a special category -- they're the housing inspectors who can shoot down your plans to buy or sell a home with a checkmark on a single sheet of paper.)
So maybe we need to let go a little. Not that I'm advocating total loss of control. No, no (and I couldn't even if I wanted to). The wallpaperers still need to be supervised, and we are still the quality control of our own lives -- because after all, we have to live in the house that's built! But it might help to keep us from driving ourselves stark raving mad as we hound the wallpaperers in our lives to have the realization that we DON'T have control over the whole universe.
Not yet anyway. (Bwwwaaaahahahaha)