Can pretend joys become real ones?

If you dream it, the reality might be just around the corner . . .

When lonely Geppetto carved out a wooden boy to keep him company, he didn’t realise that the magic of creation might reveal a hidden side. But perhaps his effort was an early manifestation of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, the work of imagining a better way, rather than letting the negative ruminations overwhelm.

I do not like the job of editing, but to get it accomplished, I pretend to myself that I do. I’ve known this day would come ever since I sighed and finished the first draft of the third book in the Biome NE47 series. My devoted beta reader having finished her work, having pronounced it readable, it was time to dive into the deep editing work. The very best way to do that, it seems, is to pretend that the work is really a hold-in-your-hand book. And the best way to pretend is to procure an author’s copy and then to read the text as if someone else has written it. It’s been a mere five days since I ordered my copies from the Amazon press, and they arrived by courier yesterday afternoon.

After a quick check to see if the basic framework of pagination had held up through the first printing, I got my nose stuck in to the first volume, a year on since I last looked at it. I must have thought that I should work my way through the whole series, to arrive as any regular reader might at some sort of final conclusion by the end. Even more punishment for the wicked, perhaps!

But I’m actually getting re-involved with the developing story as I read on, eyes widening at this or that development, as if I’m reading the novel for the first time, or as if my pretence is real. That’s a good sign, I think. Anyway, when I’ll have got the previous books fresh in my mind, I’ll hardly be able to wait to dive into the most recent effort.

And then I shall pretend that I’m enjoying the re-examination of every word, every sentence and construction, as the creative persona writhes in dismay while the editing invigilator does their work.

Can my creative joys last through the process, or will I turn my head to the wall in deep chagrin and mortification as the editor tut-tuts and strikes off another set of words? I can hope that the editor will find their own joy, and that both sides of the creative process will be satisfied, by the end.

Then it will be time to release the cumulative effort to the unsuspecting readers who I expect will be being recruited by, or to anybody else that I can inveigle. So there’s both fun, and rather a lot of trepidation ahead. I wonder if Geppetto carved his little boy with the same sort of worries, or if he just had fun with his creativity?

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