lesson learned

Journey – Lesson Learned


A few days ago, I wrote about “Back to the Beginning.” I mentioned that I had taken writing courses because I didn’t want to “wing” it. I learned a lot of things – unfortunately, they slowed down my writing dramatically.

When I wrote that novel (over 100K) years ago, I didn’t know a thing about “point of view” “three-act structure,” etc. I simply wrote. And I finished that lengthy novel in just about two or three months. I did self-editing. I read some books about writing the pitch letter. And off I mailed the queries. I had two or three requests for more. Then, I had one offer of representation. Like I said, life happened. The manuscript got nowhere. But I must have done something right. I can’t be that bad at this writing business, right? Surely, no agent would bother asking for more if I couldn’t write or the story was not compelling enough.

Anyhow, here I am wondering why it’s taking me so long to write a scene. I write something. The little red line shows up. I change the word or correct the spelling or grammar just so the line disappears. Then I noticed the adverb -ly—supposed to be a no-no in fiction writing. Then, I’m concerned about the five senses – have I used smell? touch? And have I messed up the point-of-view (POV)? By the time I’m satisfied with all that, I’ve already rewritten the scene five or six times. And the creative juices are all but gone.

Recently, I read an article about fast-writing and about the first draft. First drafts are never good. They are first drafts—what do you expect? I read the following from different sources two or three times: a good editor can fix your terrible drafts, but the editor can’t fix a blank page. So, I’ve learned this valuable lesson. I need to forget everything I learned when I’m writing that first draft. After that, I go back and self-edit using all the mechanics, tips and everything to make it a readable draft. Then, of course, it goes on to the next step and the next and the next and so on.

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