Back in 2006 I wrote a book called, The Trading Assistant’s Assistant. It was about being an eBay Trading Assistant, as you likely guessed from the title. It sold pretty well for a little while and then eBay totally revamped the TA program and the book became woefully out of date.
I started to rewrite it and, in the process, realized that it was organized stupidly. Instead of just making a few changes, as I’d originally planned, I decided to completely rewrite the book from scratch with a new organizational system.
It took forever. Part of it was that life kept interrupting and I kept putting the project on hold and part of it was just that it was much, much more work than I’d first realized. In the meantime, people kept emailing me, asking me where was the new edition, when would it be out? And I kept having this stupid optimism about the project, it felt “almost done” so many times when I really had much more to go than I realized, and I kept telling these people that it would be out soon. And then every time it was delayed more I felt more and more embarrassed about it because I’d promised and didn’t deliver and because I felt like it looked bad that the book was still available for sale and so out of date.
In the meantime, I wrote and published Beyond Amazon, eBay and Etsy which was an Amazon bestseller for a while which was cool. But then that book went out of date and, in between screaming, “I hate the immediacy of the internet!” I had to rewrite that one too. The way this one was out of date was worse than the way the TAA one was so I had to do that one first. In between all of this, I had the year of doom and had a baby all of which just caused more and more delays. Then I finally got the new edition of Beyond out and concentrated full time on the TAA.
I don’t have a huge amount of time to work and so I tend to place even more value on the time I do have. I used every second of my precious little spare time to work on the TAA, determined to get it done and out there. It was a lot of work but I knew that it would be worth it in the end because, unlike Beyond, which will always need to be updated a little as things change, I was making the TAA as future proof as possible. Once I finished it, it would just stay out there, earning money forever in the background and I could move on to other projects.
I was on the final editing stage when I got a rude shock. eBay cancelled the Trading Assistant program. Entirely. Just got rid of it completely. This book I had spent all this time working on, used all my precious time on, was obsolete, my work all for nothing.
Or was it? Because most of my advice in the TAA book actually advised against what eBay suggested and I really downplayed the usefulness of eBay’s official tools. I could salvage all this work, I just knew it.
I decided to rework the book to be something even more timeless as it no longer depends on a single established program (such as the TA program) so I can’t get screwed over. In fact, even if eBay itself went out of business tomorrow, the book would still work because of how I could change it. But, while I knew what to do, it wasn’t a simple fix. I needed to go through the entire book again, rewriting and reworking.
Do I need to tell you how incredibly frustrating it is to have to rewrite this book again? I’m literally rewriting sections that I’ve already rewritten twice and no one ever even got to read in between. I’m so sick of this book, so ready to just throw it out and never think about it again but I just can’t let all that work be for nothing. I’m so close to being finished with it for real, forever this time, that I just have to see it through.
So here’s where I am, currently. I want to rewrite Mistress Novel but I’m not even touching it. I have a couple of plays and other projects I’m fiddling with but the majority of how I’m spending my April is trying to finish this stupid book once and for all. I feel like I’m so close to finished but I’ve felt that way so many times before that I’m afraid to let myself think it. I won’t even commit to a release date because I’m so sick of letting people down again and again when I get it wrong.
I want to be able to hold my head high when this book is done and feel a sense of pride when I release it to the world but I think that all I’m going to feel is relief that the stupid thing is over. I’m hoping I learn to love it again during the final editing because it’s going to be awfully hard to market a book when I’m like, “Buy this book I wrote. I hate it with a fiery hot passion, but it’s probably worth your money.”
Have you ever worked on something for so long you hated it? Did you ever reach that point when it came back around to liking it again?