I've spent the last two evenings going through my galley proofs of The Family Of Noise which is due to see the light of day on the last day of August - yes, this August for those of you who hung around a little long for it.
It's hard work trying to look at your own work when you've read it at least two hundred times already and see the flaws in it, but they are there - and are being eradicated with a red pen and also a green pen for pointing out different things to yourself. A woman I used to work with who was a real old-school pro in the proof-reading stakes taught me a wonderful way to proof the written word and that was to read it backwards so that it made no sense. When you're in the flow of a story, your eyes move fast as lightning but reading in reverse, you see things you normally wouldn't.
So now, I've scoured it forwards, backwards, forwards again and now we are having a second sweep backwards one more time before I transfer the red and green to the manuscript and pump out another proof before I press the Big Green Button.
It's a very different affair to proofing a magazine that's for sure. Maybe it's because there's nothing but thousands of words over and over. No pictures, no change of style from writer to writer to jolt your brain. It's hard work and the worst part of writing a book without a shadow of a doubt.
It's not particular to publishing your own work anymore either. Unless your in the top 1% of best-selling authors in the world, I suspect, you're pretty much out on your own even if you have a publishing deal. I don't know that for a fact but it's what I hear. I once found a nasty spelling error in a first edition of a James Herbert book - either Once or Nobody True - that plagued me for most of the rest of the book as I looked for more.
Anyway - day-work and dog walking aside - that's what has been happening here since Saturday. When I'm done and I ship it off for a clean one to come back again, I'll have seven days or so that I'm going to take as a break from words and work on finishing up some songs because it's about time some of those saw the light of day too.
Talking of day-work, this image comes from the latest issue of Skin Deep. I'm always in mental debt to a lot of the artists we work with and the things they have to say about work and art. This is one of my favourites:
Never be happy with your work. Take 30 seconds to tell yourself it was absolutely the best you could do and move on to the next project.