Nobody sits down and writes out a perfect finished piece of work.
“There is no great writing, only great rewriting.”
Justice Louis Brandeis (lawyer) *
And that doesn’t mean just once.
Writing is hard.
If you want to produce something good, it’s probably going to take a lot of drafts.
Write your thoughts down. Write them fast before you lose them. Then write them again. Then revise them.
Then go through with a pen and scribble half of it out. Put new words in little bubbles and join them to your work with arrows. Move everything around. Cross out all the adverbs and use stronger verbs. Find the repetitions and change your choice of words. Find the bits that sound weak and find new words.
Then re-structure it.
Then screw it all up and start again.
The thing is, before this is over …
you are going to get really sick of your own writing.
But even when you are tired and your eyes feel like they are made of rock,
when you can’t stand another round of editing …
… you have to remember …
This is worth doing.
You’re going to put this piece of work out into the world. You want it to be the best it can possibly be.
Have you pushed the story as far as you possibly can? Is there absolutely nothing else you can do that will make it a better experience for your reader?
If the answer is no … If the answer is ‘maybe’ … then you have to go over it one more time.
Until you are happy with it.
Until you are completely, unquestioningly, immensely proud.
Because there’s no feeling like it.
*But Robert Graves (poet) and Robert Louis Stevenson (author) a lot of other people have said similar things. Almost all writers will agree with it.