Ever had a love/hate relationship? I’m not talking about the main characters of a romance novel who rub each other the wrong way but can’t fight their attraction. I’m talking about something far more serious: the love/hate relationship an author has with her work.
Ah, the first draft. Your idea is fresh. The characters are new and exciting, and all you have to do is get your thoughts down on paper (or the computer screen). It’s just so exciting! You love what you’re doing.
Then you hit a snag. At some point, the characters may paint you into a corner or refuse to cooperate, or maybe your Muse pitches a fit and leaves you with a gaping void between scenes that you don’t know how to fill. Oh, agony! You hate it, hate it, hate it!
Sooner or later, though, inspiration strikes again. The words flow, the plot moves forward, and you see the book through to the end. Now your new creation is whole. It’s your baby, birthed from your imagination. And you love your new baby.
Until you start to edit it. Your baby is ungainly. It needs trimming here and more growth there, and it flows awkwardly in spots. You rewrite and rewrite to pretty it up and make it the best it can be, but it fusses and fights you. You hate this process!
If you persevere, though, the work takes on an extra layer of polish. It looks even better than before, and your initial excitement is renewed. You submit it to your publisher and they take it! Yes, you love this book.
Then you get the edits from your editor, and you’re right back to that hateful ungainly stage.
This pattern of love and hate continues even past the book’s release as the author promotes the work across the web and watches the book rise and fall in the rankings. It’s a bit like sending your kid to school and worrying about the other children picking on him. But the truth is, we authors love our books even when we’re angry with them, which is why we keep doing what we’re doing.