One of my favorite quotes on writing is from Steve Martin, who said:
I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.
I think we, as writers, can get so caught up in the revising and querying and never-ending quest for perfection in our work, that we don't give ourselves the credit we deserve for accomplishing the huge task of actually WRITING.
Before I actually sat down and tried to write a novel, I had no idea the amount of work that went into it. I had this idea in my head that I'd sit at my computer for a month or two, crank out the novel, go through it a couple times to check for typos, and that would be it. I'd have an incredible book ready for publication. So when I finished my first book, it was a huge celebration. I was so excited. I felt so PROUD.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd spend weeks, months, and even YEARS agonizing over the exact right word. I had no clue that there were all these little "rules" I should follow, like trying not to use adverbs, finding ways around using the passive "was", cutting unnecessary dialogue tags, swearing off info dumps, building story and character arcs, and on and on and on.
I knew how to write. I've always been good at writing. But I had no real idea how to CRAFT my stories.
The problem was, now that I knew that writing a story involves so much more than just WRITING a story, I began to focus on everything I still needed to do instead of giving my self credit for what I had already done. Sure, I still got an excited thrill writing THE END on a first draft. But part of me was heaving a big sigh as well, because I knew it was just the beginning.
Yes, my first drafts are generally nothing more than guidelines for the "real" book that will be revealed after I cut or rewrite nearly everything. But I need to remember how AWESOME it is that I can get a first draft out at all. There are so many people out there who sit down to write a novel who quit four chapters in. Or who finish the book but never look at it again, never revise it, never edit, never rewrite over and over again.
And most of the writers I meet do this. They focus on everything they still need to do, which is good and necessary, but we need to remember to give ourselves a little pat on the back for accomplishing the massive task of taking a huge stack of blank paper and turning it into an amazing possibility.
Do you do this? Do you forget to give yourself credit for your accomplishments?
Your task today - give yourself a pat on the back...'cause you know you deserve one :)