On keeping writing
I’m writing a first-ish draft of my next novel right now. I’m about half-way through. And in order to keep going, I have to keep pushing aside all of the thoughts about how terrible it is at the moment. To keep track of these thoughts, some of which might be useful during revision, I use Scrivener’s note feature in its sidebar. Like this: “Suddenly she’s an expert photographer? Like, in chapter 8? Might want to mention that sooner, Katie!” If you use Word, comment bubbles work, too. I find that setting aside my brain’s interruptions helps me finish the book.
…it’s time to revise. Not so “finished” after all. And I have to actually listen to all of those interruptions, plus all of the new nonsense that comes from all directions (and this is BEFORE I share the manuscript with my trusted early readers who give me feedback). Revision is HARD. Sometimes it tries to kill you, as my friend Heather Webb just wrote.
As writers, we want our work to be perfect. We try and try. But every single book I’ve ever read has hit the bookstores with at least one typo in it, and usually more. It’s infuriating. It’s frustrating. It’s life.
Some day you hope to have one book, three books, 10. And you’ll look back at your early books and think, if I’d just spent more time editing, it would have been better. It would have been perfect. Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe that’s the best you could have done at the time. After writing 10 books, you’re probably a better writer.
But also, no book is perfect. Seriously. Not even The Westing Game.
So just remember