I was having a crisis over having to rewrite my entire book the other day and I finally realized that it came down to the realization that I would be tossing out a lot of writing. Not just writing but Really Good Writing. Every other time I’ve had to trash a project and redo it from scratch, it’s been in some rough state where I hadn’t spent nearly as many hours on every word as I did with Mistress Novel’s so called “final” draft. Here I was, about to toss out pages and pages of writing I not only slaved over but that I knew from feedback was good, in some places Really Good. And while I knew that the writing had to go for the good of the whole, it still wasn’t a happy realization.
I was feeling pretty low about the whole thing and was working on another project to distract me. To my surprise, I finished that project in much less time than I expected and it was good, much better than I expected from a draft. I thought to myself, huh, I must be getting the hang of this writing thing.
Then I had an epiphany. And I wanted to share it with you, even though there’s some arrogance to it, because it just may be what you need to hear too. My realization went like this.
I’ve become a pretty good writer. Ergo, the majority of what I write is pretty good and the percentage of quality writing I produce will only increase in the future.
However, I’m only ever going to be able to use a small percentage of what I write. Ergo, I’m going to be tossing out a lot of Really Good Writing over the course of my writing life and that’s fine because there’s plenty more where that came from. And anything new I write tomorrow will always be better than what I wrote yesterday anyway because I’ll have more experience and have had more practice.
Simple? Perhaps. But it gave me a whole new perspective on this rewrite and turned dread into excitement so I thought it was worth sharing!