I’ve decided that on Thursday’s I’m going to regularly post an inspirational quote to discuss. Not only is it something I’ve been thinking about to keep my pen sharp, it feels necessary. I’m almost at the midway mark in editing my novel, and it has been a grind, to say the least.
As I’m sure many of you have experienced, the editing aspect of your novel is probably more difficult than writing the work itself. Taking the time to objectively step back and recognize your flaws is never easy for any of us, especially after pouring so much of yourself into your art. But just as “iron sharpens iron”, taking in the critiques from beta readers and self-evaluating your story is the key to turning that ugly coal of a first draft into a diamond worth reading.
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
― Octavia E. Butler
This quote spoke to me immediately in the stage I’m in. Re-reading my manuscript has been completely eye-opening. All the stupid, careless grammatical errors and plot holes seem like massive, black blots on an empty canvas. How the heck did I write this trash?! I think to myself, fervently revising my mistakes. How did my masterpiece, that I once thought was so great, turn to this incomprehensible mess?
The answer is that it didn’t. Like any written body of work, it began in its infancy, with plenty more room for growth. Nobody ever comes out of the womb ready to go and take on the world around them. We take time to develop. We make mistakes, we stumble until we figure it out, and even at the end we will never be perfect.
But the key here is that we persist. We don’t give up even when we’re tired and frustrated. We write and rewrite, polishing that ugly rock until it shines like the diamond we always knew was there. We battle on, because in the end we know it’s worth fighting for.
So make sure you take that constructive feedback seriously. Make sure you don’t let yourself get discouraged from those mistakes. Continue to make your work stronger until that masterpiece can be seen again. Because it’s there. You just need a little patience.
Until next time, keep imagining!