The best part of the writing process is the first draft. It’s the closest you can get to the writer’s mind in its raw state. Without the trimmings and the technical polish. As a writer, it’s the moment you enjoy an adrenaline rush. No hunger, no thirst, no joy, no pain. Only the superhuman energy to write a thousand words or more in one sitting.
What happens AFTER the first draft is BRUTAL.
You go through your revisions, you let your Inner Critic run wild and slash and burn through your copy. You kill your darlings. You spot the clichés. You cut out sentences you thought were clever at the time but were actually quite lame on second read. You read, you re-write, you read, you re-write. It consumes you. A story is never perfect. It is only as good as the point in which you’ve decided to let go.
And when you’re finally ready to let go, you present it to the world. If you’re lucky, someone might think you’re good or it was a good read. Maybe it was an excellent read. Maybe it’s okay. They might even look forward to your next article.
But in the end, they will forget. They will move on to the next exciting thing they read. Or they might be too engrossed with their own writing, their own social posts, or whatever’s happening in their life that you are quickly forgotten.
So the most important reader is … you, the writer. You’re the only one who will most likely read what you’ve written over and over again and take pleasure from it. That is why you write what you want to write about, not what you think people would want to read. If you pander to your readers or your critics, you will only be disappointed.
You ask people, “What do you really want to do if money wasn’t an issue?” Some people shake their heads and say they don’t know. Many work to live, not live to work.
By contrast, I have always loved writing. I loved it even before I knew what it was. I’ve always enjoyed reading since I was a kid. Mostly fiction, even comics, but always, I enjoy the idea of living in worlds created in books.
And that’s the beauty of it. People can tell you “you can’t write” or your writing’s not good enough or that there are better writers out there. But that doesn’t make me love writing any less (the criticism would still hurt though!).
As a kid, I spent a lot of time reading and writing. As a grown-up, I get to do that as my profession. If you get to do what you want to do a kid for the rest of your life then I think in a way, you’ve captured youth forever.