Writers’ Secrets 7: Writing is Rewriting (and It’s Hell)

Writing is rewriting. Most writers hate rewriting. Therefore, most writers hate writing (but that’s a topic for another post.)

Rewriting is a pain. Nobody wants to admit that the ‘masterpiece’ they slaved over for days/weeks/months/years is so bad that no amount of editing will save it. That the only chance they have of making it work is to rewrite it. To scrap what they’ve done and start again.

It’s very tempted to just give up, at this point. What if you do start again and find it still doesn’t work? That it needs rewriting again? And what if this happens a third time? A fourth time? What if it’s never going to work, no matter how many times you try rewriting it?

The sad truth is: this happens. Sometimes you sense that this might be the case and decide to give up on that particular story. Sometimes it takes several tries before you admit defeat.

Either way, the whole thought of having to rewrite is disheartening. It makes you question your ability as a writer, let alone your ability to write this story.

The fact that something needs rewriting is enough to make a writer consider dropping it. I believe that every story that has been rewritten has survived the threat of being given up on by its author.

Sometimes editing and rewriting and editing again feels like an endless cycle. The tenth circle of hell. But it’s all worth it in the end.

Next week: the finished product.

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4 thoughts on “Writers’ Secrets 7: Writing is Rewriting (and It’s Hell)

  1. This is so good to read , because the rewriting part seems a part of my life and its good to know others go through it too.

  2. It may feel like hell, but it’s just part of the process. Remember to breathe, and one can get through it, supposing they can suppress that voice in the back of their head chanting (regardless of what their own feelings on the piece have been throughout the writing), “They’re wrong! It’s great the way it is!” Rarely is something perfect right out of the gate. A writer’s best friend is an open mind.

  3. This article is full of typos, and makes me question whether this blog is an excellent joke at the expense of self-indulgent useless writers who feel the need to blog, despite their lack of talent or success, or is just a rubbish blog.

    • Thanks for your comment. You make a valid argument – and I think there is an element of self-indulgence in every blog. For writers however, the problem is that you have to build up a ‘platform’ – these days publishers will not touch you unless you do – and a blog is just one way of doing that. It’s a shame because it gives us all an excuse.

      Would you mind pointing out the typos? I’ve re-read this post several times and I just can’t see them.

      Thanks

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