Wednesday 7th February 2018
There’s a quote I picked up a while back. Actually it was 2 quotes, from leaders in two completely different fields, but it said the same thing.
It never gets easier, you just get better at dealing with it.
My writing career feels a bit like this right now.
I know the level I want to write at. I have ridiculously high expectations of myself and I put myself under so much pressure I often feel like it’s crushing me.
There’s part of me that wants to look at my beta comments and feel like I’ve failed. If I couldn’t see those problems my beta reader did, how can I possibly ever call myself a writer?
I’ve been told that the book isn’t bad, it’s just not as great as the first. And because of that, there’s part of me that could think that perhaps good is good enough.
But instead I look at it a different way. I knew that I didn’t want book 2 to be an obvious sequel. I wanted to do some different things with the book and that meant taking risks. And taking risks means that sometimes, elements don’t work.
The problems, from reading the summary of Kate’s points on book 2, all seem to relate to issues I was worried about: there’s not enough Shade Knight, it’s too dark. They were problems I saw, so why didn’t I do anything about them?
It all boils down to the fact that I didn’t trust my gut, that I thought it was telling me to play too safe. As a result, I noted it but I ignored it. And now I wish I’d paid it more attention.
I’ve seen writers complain about rewriting. There’s a tendency to think that those words you throw out were wasted, inefficient. But more often than not, you need to write those words to get to the right ones.
To write at the level I want to write means having to rewrite. Writing a great book isn’t just a product of talent, it’s a product of hard work, of finding broken chapters and ripping them out and replacing them with chapters that do work.
My first draft is a good book. A couple of years ago it might have even been the best thing I’ve ever written. But that was then and this is now. Now my process involves taking a good first draft and ripping it to shreds to make something great.
Writing a book doesn’t get easier. Whilst I might write better first drafts, that doesn’t mean I don’t need to rewrite. That doesn’t mean seeking out great beta readers who will force you to up your game and not take good as good enough.
It doesn’t get easier. But what changes is me and my ability to take those knocks on the chin.
I might be waiting until I see Kate tomorrow before I delve into the specific issues, but I know already that there’s nothing I can’t fix.
It doesn’t get easier… I just don’t let it crush me.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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