Recently, I’ve been shaking my head a lot. These involuntary head movements are to do with editing.
There are times when you edit something you’ve written, long or short, that you feel quite good about yourself. Look! You wrote a sentence that wasn’t all bad. See, again! That storyline makes sense and is kind of interesting. Aren’t you a genius? Or at least a very clever bunny? Yes, you are!
Then there are the times when you edit something you’ve written and feel that it’s all a pile of poo. Look! That simile makes no sense what so ever. And here! What is the purpose of that scene, that character, that entire plotline? What’s the point of you? Can you even structure a decent sentence? No, you can’t and you’re not very good at WordFeud either.
Guess what I’ve been hearing from myself over the last week?
I freely admit that I don’t write for myself: I want readers. I want people to enjoy my stories, feel the emotions I was hoping they’d feel, see the images I’m trying to place in their heads. External validation helps me feel the love, it gives me a huge boost. Sitting at home with my manuscript, trying to make a broken thing work, doesn’t. And I haven’t had anything published for ages, nor read to an audience since March. Doubt hovers.
Part of me, some days a very small part, is whispering ‘just get on with it, it doesn’t matter if it’s not the best thing ever, you still need to finish it to your best ability so you can get someone else to read it. They you can worry about the pooness.‘ A larger, and more vocal part, is saying ‘what the hell are you thinking about? This is a waste of time. There’s just too much excrement. Why couldn’t you get it right the first time?‘
Every writer has to listen to those two voices. The trick is to focus on the quiet one and get on with it.