Decision Paralysis

At the passing of each new milestone, my destination only seems farther away.

“Manuscript finished!” This was the most recent milestone. But instead of passing a broad-numbered and reflective marker on the roadside, this was more of an emotional collapse in which I flopped back from my desk and into my chair declaring, “Screw it! It’s time to move on with my life!”

More than three years have passed since the experience this book is centered upon and in that time was an inconsistent availability of time, effort, and discipline on which I could draw for the sake of this project. Despite the shortage of those resources though, I’ve finally made it!

And that’s the ironic part. Now I find myself wondering if it will ever get finished.

Currently, I’m seeking out a freelance editor. But I find this process to be paralyzing. I posted a job description and the first 7000 words on a freelance website–at 12 am. By the next morning I had already received 20 replies complete with cover letters. That was encouraging.

I began to read through the letters and resumes, trying to keep in mind the importance of the writer/editor relationship and how it can impact blah, blah, blah… Whatever! After the first 10 candidates, there was an obvious divide.

On one side were the professionals, the lifers with the headshots and the experience and the cover letters that followed direct response copywriting forms to a T (That’s right! I studies that stuff, too. I can see how you’re trying to manipulate my emotions for the sake of the sale!).

On the other side are the less than professionals, the young and up-and-coming people whose resumes aren’t the greatest, work histories not the longest, and portfolios not the fullest.

Seems like an easy decision, right? Well, I have a practiced ability to turn every decision into an existential crises.

I like the professionals. Even the copywriting meant to sell me. It’s a demonstration of the discipline, the knowledge, the keen eye which I’m seeking. These are the people who sent back the Prologue with a sample edit. Of course, they got all the misspellings and grammar mistakes that I intentionally made (That’s right, I’m testing you!). They also caught some mistakes I hadn’t made intentionally, thus the necessity.

The problem though is that I self-identify with the less-than-professionals, because let’s face it, I’m one of them. Hell, half of their cover letters linked to travel blogs in better shape than mine. Oddly though, that does not inspire my confidence.

So that’s where I’m at, stuck between going with the professional, potentially stick-up-the-rear suit I’m concerned will take the fun out of my writing with their underdeveloped sense of humor or the less than professional who will laugh the whole way through editing my work, all the while forgetting to find any mistakes just because I think I’d like to get a beer with them.

Decision paralysis.

My one saving grace though is this: I try not to take this writing too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very important to me. But this current project isn’t my end game. In my mind, it’s just practice, a way for me to develop my own skills and knowledge. So should that practice be extended out of the writing realm and into the business domain? Is this whole editor selection process just to be practice as well?

I guess we’ll find out…

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