I know I should. I know I need to…but, man, I don’t want to. That’s me today. The time has come to go back through my third book and I’m not ready for it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy writing it. Oh no, I did (mostly). But reading the words I slapped on my digital paper is…embarrassing, annoying, frustrating…. We are our own worst critics. Reading the things I’ve written truly lets me see how far I’ve come (and believe me, its pretty far!) but it also brings a tinge of self doubt. I am always perfecting my craft, as are we all. Whatever we chose to put our energy into, we must practice. We must keep learning.
If you’re reading this as an indie author then, you will, at some point if not already, be in my position. You will need to revise something you put endless hours into. Most of us tend to hate our first draft. We criticize those imperfections. We hang on them. This is totally normal! It was a difficult thing for me to learn, and often still is. But it is a necessity in writing, as an author…as a human being. We aren’t perfect and we all need revision.
So, today I begin the process for what seems the hundredth time. I know it will be work, but so was writing it in the first place. I’m proud of the world I’ve built from nothing and I want it to be the best it can be. I will continue to give my best effort and I will learn along the way. I love watching videos from writing mastermind, Craig Martelle. He once spoke of perfecting your skills as a writer so that the first draft is good. If draft one is good, a round of editing makes it great. But we don’t often start out as “good” with any skill. Quite the opposite, in fact. We usually start out as horrible. We don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t have much sense of direction and maybe not even purpose. What’s important is that we start. For writers, that means putting words on the page, even if they aren’t good ones. You can’t edit a blank page.
How do we make our first draft “good”. Practice. Practice. Practice. Simple enough, isn’t it? The more you write, the better at it you become. It really is that simple. And, it is the same with all aspects of our lives.
I’m working towards having “good” first drafts, so that way I can make them great. I don’t know what defines a draft as good, but I imagine it is much like success in that it is defined by the person in search of it. With every chapter I write, I learn something. Whether it’s grammar or new words, often it is better phrasing or something I should NOT be doing. But I learn. Therefore, every first draft is better than the last. Progress.
Never give up writing (or any goal) just because it isn’t perfect the first time around. Very few things in life ever are. We press on, we learn from our mistakes, and we do better. There is no shame in failure if you learn and grow from the experience. Revise your life. Make yourself better in everything you pursue. And do it one small step (or word, for you writers) at a time.