Rewrite and Rewrite and Rewrite
I was paid a great compliment the other day. Someone said that something I wrote read as if it was easy to write.
It wasn’t. In fact, it was a tad agonizing as I fussed over sentences and tried to hammer big concepts into bite sized, readable pieces. The wonderful illusion is that great writing comes easy.
When you read a well written article or book, it feels as if the words flowed from the writer’s fingertips like a river over a cliff creating a gorgeous cascading waterfall. So as a writer, it’s easy to think that you are no good if that doesn’t happen for you. Even though I’m a professional writer and should know better, I still feel that way sometimes. I get frustrated when it feels like a struggle to put three words together.
This is where many potentially great writers (or at least very good ones) get derailed. They think that because it doesn’t come easy they’re not any good so they give up writing or settle for mediocre.
Greatness – or even just goodness – comes in the revision. You may have to rewrite a sentence or a paragraph or even just a phrase three, five, fifteen times until is sounds right.
Yes, that takes time. And yes, that can be agonizing. Until you get it right. Then, it’s like having climbed to the top of a mountain or finished a race under your pace goal.