The hardest thing about writing

At the beginning of the year, I shared two New Year’s resolutions. One of them—eating healthier—I reported on last week in my book review of Why We Get Fat.

The second resolution was to complete the book I’ve been writing. In fact, I boldly claimed that I would complete this project by the end of the month!

Well, that didn’t happen.

But I would like to report that this was an intentional choice, not a lack of resolve.

You see, I had Fellow Wordsmith Karen Racek read my manuscript and critique it. And she gave me some valuable insights that I trust. Karen believes that the book I was working on was not very good, but that it did contain some nuggets that could be developed into a different book. A better book.

So I’m starting over.

Rather than trying to force my mediocre book to become a great book, I’m going to set it aside and start fresh.

For me, this is an example of what I think is the hardest thing about writing—being willing to start over.

I had invested a lot of time and thought into this book. I really wanted it to be good!

(And I really wanted to be done with it!)

So I appreciate Karen’s willingness to tell me the truth and rescue me from my inclination to let the book be “good enough.” I respect that.

I’m not quite ready to tackle the new book yet. But I will be.

Here’s to starting over!


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10 thoughts on “The hardest thing about writing”

  1. It’s painful, just like starting over is in lots of other areas of life. I’m rewriting (on occasion) a novel I wrote in college and working on a short story that I just want to finish by the deadlines for submission i have on my calendar, but, like you, I recognize it can’t just be good enough. Darn.

  2. Someone recently asked me for advice on becoming a better writer. I told her Read (reading good writers exposes you to good ideas and techniques), Write (practice, practice, practice – which includes starting over) and Share (let others read, critique your work). This post shows demonstrates all three of these elements. Thanks for your transparency and commitment to excellence.

    • I appreciate that confirmation, Fellow Writer! A common mistake many writers make is to avoid opportunities to receive input, because they want to be “true to their art.” But I have always found that input makes me a better writer. I don’t have to agree with everything my critics say, but it’s important for me to hear it and think about it.

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