Getting past the first stage of writing…

Every writer on the face of the earth – or at least the only ones who are any good at all – are convinced at some point that what they have written is crap. Absolute garbage. Bosh and nonsense. However you want to put it, you reread what you’ve written and become convinced that the phrasing is wooden, the pace is all wrong, the dialogue stilted… yeah, yeah, I know.

We’ve all been there, trust me.

Agatha Christie, in her autobiography says, about writing a novel:

“You start into it, inflamed by an idea, full of hope, full indeed of confidence(about the only time in my life when I have been full of confidence). If you are properly modest, you will never write at all, so there had to be one delicious moment when you have thought of something, know just how you are going to write it, rush for a pencil, and start an exercise book buoyed up with exaltation. You then get into difficulties, don’t see your way out, and finally manage to accomplish more or less what you first meant to accomplish, though losing confidence all the time. Having finished it, you know that it is absolutely rotten. A couple of months later you wonder whether it may not be all right after all.”

That about describes the process to a tee, and I wonder why it is? I think it’s only with time and experience that you realize that the feeling that it’s an absolute load of hooey is a part of the process and just has to be withstood and gotten past. Maybe it is some kind of trial; if you go back to it after feeling that way, then you will see it through!

In a way your own work of fiction is like some paintings; they have to be seen from a distance to be appreciated. Just keep plugging away; that is the best advice any author can give any aspiring writer. Keep plugging away, finish it, then let it rest. Come back to it after a time, and you’ll be able to truly tell if it’s all right, or if it really is a load of trash. Then, and only then, can you polish and perfect it, once you’re no longer so close to it.

Just keep at it!

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Books, Writing

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