As writers, we walk the fine line between absolute courage and utter hopelessness. Finding the middle ground is important. Sway to either one and your writing will suffer. If we have to much confidence in our writings then we begin to fall in love with our own words and become blind to our faults. If we begin to despise our work, doubt creeps in and the creative juices come to a stand still.
This balancing act requires us to walk the razor edge. To stray is to delve into the writer’s danger zone. For me, I know that I must force myself to accept any constructive criticism with the utmost rationality. If one has people in their lives that will give honest feedback then cherish it. To fall in love with your own work will leave you in a disastrous place in which your writing never improves. If you’re lucky, these same people will help you from falling into complete despair. Understand that a first draft is not meant to inspire, it is merely a guide for your second draft.
With all this said, I recently looked at where my book was heading. At the time I felt pretty good about my 45,000 words. I believed I was nearly half way done with my first draft. I was wrong.
As I let a few trusted friends read it, it became clear to me that everything after the first chapter needed redone. It can be heartbreaking and the stubborn might refuse to begin again. But in pragmatism, i have chosen a path that I believe will churn out the better story.
I do not believe that those first 45000 words were in vain. They merely helped guide me to the place I needed to be to truly begin my book. I’ve learned so much about what works and what doesn’t. For every word written, I’ve gained skill, confidence, and a better understanding of my characters.
With all that said, I’ve gone back to diagramming and outlining a solid, and more complete book.
Remember in your writing, never lie to yourself. Never believe solely in your own talent. Never completely doubt yourself. Learn from others, but ignore the doubters. Never hesitate to begin again. I’ve tried to always follow this piece of advice in life. “If you don’t feel like doing it, you probably should.”