The first draft of anything is shit.
There’s a word that seems to conjure up an image of a lone wanderer, aimlessly trudging through the dusty plains, constantly changing directions under a bleary sun and yet still not seeming to get anywhere.
That word: Editing.
After each subsequent edit, I think: “yeah, alright. I think it’s where it needs to be. This is good!” After some feedback, then it becomes painfully clear: WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!
That’s okay. I have one thing to say to myself, and all other writers going through the grueling process of editing:
Don’t be so goddamn hard on yourself.
Seriously, this is the nature of writing. Hemingway said it best (read above.) It’s okay to write something that isn’t good, or needs fixing. Just learn from it, change it, make it better. The beauty of writing is you can edit and change the content as much as you need. You can cut and hone it from being a car leaf spring into a sharpened survival knife.
Truthfully, the ability to know where you can improve, and accept that you need to improve are some of the most important facets of success. Don’t let yourself down; don’t let your story down.
- Get readers who will give you feedback. Honest, harsh feedback. You’ll need it.
- Be willing to overhaul parts of your story if it’s clear it is needed. Don’t get married to your ‘plan.’
- Don’t try to do it all at once. Figure out what you need to change, and tackle one issue at a time.
Good luck, wasteland wanderers.