Monday, June 29, 2009
As a writer confidence can be a fleeting thing. While in the middle of a story, focused on placing words on the page, most of us don't necessarily worry about the absolute quality of the writing. We just want to finish, and figure we'll polish it up later.
This is the right approach, but it has a nasty side effect. It can cause confidence problems. Reading through the first draft, the writer can become extremely negative about the work, because.... well ... it sucks.
There will be moments of goodness, maybe even greatness, but there will also be moments of extreme suckage. (A technical writing term, in case you didn't know it.)
It's these moments of extreme suckage that can damage a writer's fragile confidence. It's these moments that can cause the writer to pause, and think about whether they really like to write, or not. These moments of suckage can make the writer think that they're no good.
When it happens, and it will, what are you going to do? Give up?
That's exactly what happens to some beginning writers. They write the first draft, start the process of revision, realize that what they've written blows chunks, and throw in the towel. A very unfortunate result after hours and days of work.
What should you do?
It's highly possible that there is no real story, and maybe the scene should be tossed, or maybe the entire book. Fine. Figure out what didn't work and write a new one. If that one doesn't work either, figure out what's wrong with that one and write another one.
The point being, that this tenacity and focus is what separates a writer, from someone who likes to write. A writer will continue to hone their craft until they can captivate readers with their storytelling. Someone who likes to write, will continue to write in their diary, and won't necessarily improve other than through practice.
Write the best story you can write. When revising, focus on making the story better, and don't get bogged down by the parts you hate. Make them better.