“It sounds amazing in my head but when I write it down, it’s terrible!”
Does this sound familiar? You’ve got this fantastic scene in mind, the whole thing is just RIGHT THERE fully formed in your head, and all you need to do is write it down! You rush to your preferred writing implement, start to write and… things don’t go quite how you pictured.
You expected your beautiful gazelle of an idea to leap directly from your imagination. Instead, you’ve got this newborn fawn lurching around the page. The distance between what’s in your head and what’s written is so far it feels like something must be wrong.
But there’s nothing wrong.
This is what it’s like for all of us.
The following is an adapted excerpt from Building a Writing Life: start a writing habit, find time to write, discover your process and commit to your writing dreams available now in paperback and eBook.
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There will be a significant difference between what you envision and what you write. And yet, if you haven’t come to terms with this reality, this divide can make you doubt yourself and your abilities or even want to give up writing entirely.
Here’s what you need to remember when you sit down to write your first draft of anything: this is not your last time through this. It’s during the editing and revision process that you’ll bring the words on the page closer to what you originally intended or maybe something even better. But to tinker and tweak what you write now into something more, you first need to write something. You cannot edit a blank page.
Let me tell you my trick for pushing through when it feels like all I’m doing is scrawling out a crayon drawing of the masterpiece in my head. I think of the Hollywood director assuring his fussy star, “Don’t worry, babe, we’ll fix it in post!” Have you ever seen how silly the raw footage of those big blockbusters look before they edit it together and add in all the special effects? As long as you’ve got something on film, you can always tweak it in the editing booth.
Write now and worry about fixing it later.