If you're a new kid, this thing you need to know about writing will probably take you by surprise. Unless you've been hanging with us old hands for a while, you're probably buying into one of two myths. Or, if you're really warped, both.
The first myth:
Really good writers only ever write one draft.
The second myth:
My words are perfect and anyone who tries to say otherwise is just plain wrong.
Really good writers only ever write one draft. I'm a good writer, therefore my words are perfect and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong.
I can see the old hands nodding. We all know the guy.
DO NOT BE THAT GUY.
Oh, you are that guy? Sit down, kid, or your plot bunnies get it.
Yes, dear, I love your plot bunnies with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. *makes slurping sounds*
So here's the truth:
Your first draft will be junk. Your second draft will suck a little bit less. Once you've revised, your manuscript will look better. And it will keep looking better with every successive round of edits you put it through.
And then, when you've polished it until you're proud of your baby and you can see your reflection in it, you'll publish it.
And you, or someone else, will find a typo somewhere.
In other words: You're human, and therefore, nothing you create will ever be completely perfect. If you think your story is, you're either delusional, or you've been editing so many times that you're no longer seeing your own errors.
This holds true for all writers. I know some people like to brag about how pretty they write and how easy it is, but this is like (to borrow from an interview I heard, but I can't remember the writer's name) the stunning looking Hollywood starlet who's prancing before the cameras and saying: "Oh... this? I just threw it on."
Or maybe, it's the fact that there are very few people who really can remember pain.
Really. I'm one of the lucky ones. I like editing. You might feel like it's stabbing yourself in the heart every time you have to delete something. In fact, if you're that guy it'll definitely feel that way.
Which is really the reason I'm telling you not to be that guy. Yes, they're annoying as hell. Especially when they ask old hands to critique but really only expect praise. But all and all, not being that guy is better for your emotional welfare.
So repeat after me:
Right now, I'm writing junk so I can edit it better later. It's all part of the process.
And keep repeating it every time you open your rough draft. You'll thank me for it later. For so many more reasons than I can tell you here tonight.
Are you that guy? Were you that guy? What made you realize the truth?