Right now, I’m editing one of my newest books. And it’s horrible.
The work isn’t what’s horrible, it’s the writing that is. I feel like my work falls so short of my standards, or other readers’ standards, and others haven’t even read the book!
I also feel like I’m not a good writer and I’m deluding myself into thinking I could make it big as a fantasy author.
I’m also feeling like my writing will never improve and that the story will never be tightened enough to make it publishable and a bestseller.
I’m also thinking I’m going to need to burn the whole MS and never think of it again.
But, I’ve gone through this before, with other manuscripts I’ve written, and I always pushed through the work and the emotional insecurity.
As I go through the process once more, I’m trying to remember in the back of my mind these key points:
- The fact I’m cringing as I’m editing tells me I’ve improved as both a writer and a reader–what I originally thought was good writing I no longer consider to be. That tells me that I’ve grown and am more aware of what makes for good writing vs bad writing.
- Every work needs to be edited. I’ve heard others say that a book is never written, its rewritten again and again. The book on bookstore shelves is most likely not a first draft, or even a fourth. It’s more likely a tenth. And even if your book demands more editing than some other books, as long as it becomes better and publishable, that’s the goal.
- My writing is typically considered creative even as the technicalities fall short. That is, my story is solid and creative, even if my writing needs work. I’d rather be in this position than be writing stale stories that don’t interest people. That’s less easily fixed than working on tightening your writing.
- I can always learn—my brain is plastic, which means it responds to the environment and my experiences, and can grow in its abilities. Therefore, I’m not stuck with horrible writing if I work at it–and work at it I will!