I don’t have the writers block of popular imagination, the blank white screen and blinking cursor that keeps me paralyzed for hours. But I do have a “writers reluctance,” which in some ways might be even more insidious. This is a familiar syndrome for most of you, where the distractions of meta-writing—research, outlining, emailing, formatting an e-book, reading industry news, and, uh, writing blogs—get in the way of actually writing, even though all of this activity feels like you’re making progress.
[T]hree things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our works fulfills us. …Work that fulfills those three criteria is meaningful.
Over and over again on websites and in personal correspondence, I hear writers who have chosen to self-publish talk about how energized (or re-energized) they are. While there’s the inevitable grousing about low-sales numbers or promotions gone haywire, rarely are there complaints about the work itself. I know I find myself ready to write every day, eager to get to the page and get my latest words down.
That’s because, according to Gladwell’s definition, self-publishing is meaningful work.
One of the challenges facing indie writers is how to recreate the editorial support that a traditionally published author receives (or is supposed to receive). If you take your writing seriously, having a handful of volunteer readers isn’t enough; you need true editorial help.
There are many types of editors, however: substantive editing, line editing, copy-editing, proofreading. All of these steps and stages are important, but in my own case, I felt that there was no substitute for substantive editing since it requires a high degree of experience, knowledge of the genre I was writing in (crime fiction), and a kind of understanding of the whole project, not just individual pieces. Consequently, I hired my own at considerable cost and it was worth it.
Since I don’t live under a money-tree, however, I hoped to cut a few corners by looking for proofreading alternatives. This is still an important step, but one I hoped I could look for a more automated solution.