Writing is re-writing.
That may sound like a cliche – and often it is – until you have to toss 4,000 words of your new book because “it’s just not right” – as I had to do this past week.
I mean, talk about an OUCH! moment. That was a lotta work I had to dump. But books are whole projects and the journey of completing them, no matter how many one writes, will always be filled with clear-sailing on some days and back alley knife fights on others.
And sometimes, you just gotta look up and realize that hey, in the process of “discovering” this book, I just discovered that this giant chunk of X pages isn’t working. So off it must go – and off it went. And you know what? It liberated me. See, amatuer writers very often feel that if they did the work, wrote the pages, then they somehow have to use them.
Nope! Bzzzp. Wrong.
Sometimes all that work is just work leading up to the process of discovering the real work which needs to be done – and by holding onto things that are not working simply because you put in a ton of effort into creating them, you risk losing sight of the big picture when writing a novel… which is, to write a great book!
I mean no one cares if it takes me 4 months or 4 years to write my next novel. (Except my publisher, perhaps.) Quality matters over expediency and sometimes, that’s a painful lesson to learn. Especially when you are re-learning it over and over and over again. It’s not that a “mistake” was made. It’s more that an evolution occurred… and growth sometimes requires pruning.
So my great progress on writing this week was tossing a heck of a lot of pages that had taken me a really long time to pen. But, will the reader ever know this?
I doubt it. But will they notice? Well, they would if I wouldn’t have made sure that some of my pages went to the dumpster.
The trash heap: often a writer’s best friend.