I was doing some writing yesterday and I was momentarily shocked by my own conviction that I would not only finish the draft, but work on editing it and polishing it till it was as good as I could possibly make it. This is something that has never happened to me before. Usually I am writing stuff and it’s either for an assignment or I know for a fact it’s crap and I just never get to the editing stage.
And that’s one of our biggest impediments to finishing a manuscript, I think, the fear of the editing stage and mostly, to find out exactly how crap our work is. I think there is no writer that has ever read their first draft and thought, damn, that’s gold. Well, maybe if Trump wrote a book… but then he’d need to be able to put a full thought together.
I have, I think, come to terms with that fact and I am actually looking forward to the editing stage (says the woman who is taking a break from writing today). I am not afraid that it will be awful (because I know it will) nor do I fret, as I am writing it, about this or that paragraph which could have been written better. I am just writing it and, although I am making some notes about things I have to re-think or add, I am not letting that stop me.
Because that’s another issue. Thinking of improvements to the plot as you write. You keep starting over because this last idea, this one, this is the one that’s going to make everything flow. I can’t tell you the amount of times I ‘ve re-started the novel I was writing before and how I regret it now because the reason I had to keep starting over is because it was simply not the type of thing I want to write (although it is the type of thing I want to read :D). Terry Pratchett did say that the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. It doesn’t matter how well or badly you tell it to yourself so you might as well keep going.
As I said above, I have decided to take a break from writing today. Not that I haven’t written anything. I’m writing this right now. It’s just that I spent a few hours doing an editing job for somebody else and now I just can’t face it. It’s been one of those days when I haven’t stopped but I haven’t really done anything for myself and that’s tough because L had taken our two older kids away most of the day so it really was the time or never. I just want to go to bed now and read my book. But that’ll be after this cider…