Surely the rules don’t apply to me?
I have to admit to feeling a bit disheartened about my writing recently. The euphoria of having completed a manuscript rises and falls. Some days I’m elated and delirious with excitement, other days I feel as though the amount of work that it requires is just too much, that I’ll never be truly done. But that’s silly, because really, I just need to split one chapter into three smaller chapters and expand them properly. Then add in a few more chapters at the end (which are already written) and give the whole thing a sweep through to check for consistency. Not too much to do at all! And every sweep makes the story so much better; I can see that and appreciate it. Every run through always re-invigorates my excitement.
However, this is probably where I’m a bit silly. I can’t shake the nagging doubt that, if I were actually a good enough writer, to be published – if I actually had ‘talent’ then surely it wouldn’t be so much work? Wouldn’t it all just be easier? Well… no.
On the majority of websites I’ve followed, or interviews of authors that I’ve read – no one claims that their work is easy. All of the advice says that you write that first draft and then you can throw it out the window and start again. It’s hard work. You need to be dedicated and put the graft in. So, what I’ve been learning is that: yes, talent has a part. So does inspiration and having a solid idea – a market that you’re aiming for. A plan, a structure – all of this is important in its own right. But not only do you have to get the words down, you must be prepared to re-write and re-write, especially if you are a first time author.
It’s hard though, to realise that nothing less than perfection will be good enough. Perfection is hard to achieve, it’s not going to arrive effortlessly. A fully formed book isn’t going to fall into my lap unless I go out and buy one.
It has taken some time then, but finally the message is sinking in. I shouldn’t feel bad that I’m working hard. I should be proud of the efforts I am making. Taking care and consideration, spending time editing, is not a sign that I’m just no good and a talentless shmuck. There, that’s the lesson. It’s what I’ve been reading for years now but it’s only just sinking in. The rules apply to me too.
What do you think? Any advice or realisations?