As I type this, my gorgeous girlfriend – and my toughest critic – is proof-reading The Freetown Bridge (again) so that I can submit it for publication with someone other than Amazon. It’s a nerve-wracking process and I can’t imagine any other writer feels differently about that. Someone takes hold of your precious words and pokes at them. Not just reading them, and deciding if they like them or not but actively looking for flaws. It’ll come back covered in notes and highlights – this is daft it’ll say, or this makes no sense. Why have you written this? I wouldn’t have written it like that! And I’ll take it all to heart and go away and push it around the page like a child with a cold sprig of broccoli. Some of it I will fight for, but most of what she picks out I will change. And then I’ll spend half an hour whining about how I’m a crap writer and she’ll tell me to shut up and point out that if she thought I was crap she wouldn’t waste her time proofing my work. She’ll also point out that I asked her if it was okay and if she said yes and didn’t mention all the errors and mis-types and stuff then she’d be lying. Honest to a fault – that’s my girl.
She isn’t a writer. Well, she is but not to the extent I am – she writes the occasional story but nothing like the quantities I produce or with the same level of ambition. What she is is a reader – a stunningly prolific one. I don’t need a writer to tell me what’s wrong with my work (although some may disagree). I’m a writer. What I need is a reader – and she’s the best. Anyway, whilst I’ve been blogging away, she’s been covering my work with highlights and bracketed comments. I should probably see if I can still read any of the original text.