Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seriously? Did I write THAT bad?

For you writers out there:

Have you ever gone back to the *first* draft of your *first* book and wondered, what was I thinking?

I have.

Unlike some, I'm not allowing my first book to die. There was a reason I wrote it and I think there is an awesome spot for it in today's market. I've edited many times since my very first draft written in 2007, the last full edit being October/November of 2008.

So, I recently sent my proposal out to an agent, and am praying about other potential agents to submit to, and felt a nudging in my heart that it was time to go back for another edit.

I struggled with this though, because I'm almost half way through book 2 and I fully plan on making my June goal of finishing it. Does God REALLY want me to stop when I'm a roll?

I decided to dip my big toe into the pool of editing to see how it felt before I dove in. My critique group is currently ready for chapter 26 of that first book (they took a break from it to critique genesis entries), so I decided to start at that chapter.

I read it.

And I almost cried. Seriously, it was awful! How could I have written that badly? Granted, this is a part in the story that I recognized before that I'd probably have to go back and do more editing, but still.

Every day, I learn something new about writing, so I can honestly say that I'm a better writer today than I was six months ago. I'm still not perfect, and I won't say that in six months I won't go back and read my rewrite and be disgusted.

But...then I got to thinking.

I hope I NEVER go back to a book and say, "Wow, that is just perfect." Because that would mean I've become stagnant, that I haven't grown and gotten better. I imagine that even published authors say that about their earlier published works.

Please, wish me luck and say a prayer for me as I officially put back on my edit swimsuit, climb to the high-dive, and take the plunge.

Any one else in edit-gear? If so, come on! Get your floaties and flippers! The water is nice and warm! (Can you tell I'm ready for summer!?)

4 comments:

Billy Coffey said...

A good writer, I think, is never truly happy with his or her work. There is always a nagging sensation that something could have been changed and made better.

I love writing first drafts. Second drafts, not so much. And let's not talk about third drafts...

So, prayers for your...

Krista Phillips said...

Ohhhh, Billy, I am SO with you. I LOVE writing first drafts. I've heard a lot of writers say they would much rather revise, but SO not me. Give me a first draft any day!

(but this doesn't mean I don't understand the importance of edits...which is why I'm going through the PAINFUL process yet AGAIN!)

Jody Hedlund said...

I haven't gotten up the courage to look back at my first flimsy attempt to swim, I mean write (I'm thinking summer too!).

But I recently revised a MS I'd written about a year ago. I had the same thoughts: this totally stinks! Time gives us perspective to see our babies as they really are!

T. Anne said...

I hate rereading something I might have thought was great at on time only to be humbled by my own words. Thank God for editing and the delete button. ;)