Overcoming Writer's Regret

Will I be happy with my final result?

With my new writing process I circumvent the moments of doubt and just write … without considering form, spelling, proper word use or the completeness of the content. That comes later during the editing sessions. I have edited one of the many rough drafts I’ve worked on these past weeks. I edited for five consecutive days, three 30 minute sessions each day. It turned out well. It’s too soon to judge how this result stacks up to my previous work. 

The real question is this: will my new final product consistently be equal to or superior to my previous work? All the reading I have done will eventually impact the quality of my work but that’s not what I mean. I mean this: using my new process, can I write at least as well as I did using the old method? The likelihood is that my initial work will be OK, perhaps not quite as good as my best previous work, but acceptable. I’ll be satisfied with that as long as obvious improvements materialize over time.

You will read these articles and realize that it’s taking me three hours to get one and one half hours of writing done. That’s an hour and a half seemingly wasted. Why not just write for a straight hour and a half or even a straight three hours? Each writer must develop a writing process that works for him. Some writers have quite odd practices that keep them productive. My process is not carved in stone. It’s my current best judgment on what I need to do to become productive and stay productive for the remainder of my life. If I make it harder or less interesting the chances of failure grow dramatically. 

I know my history. I know my current capabilities. I know that a persistent approach toward past projects has always resulted in good work from me; persistence should pay off in the future. With that knowledge, I’ve taken responsibility for exploiting my potential and I’ve taken ownership of my writing future. Writing holds my only chance of making a meaningful contribution to society and to this great country where I was born and have lived my life. I won’t become rich or famous but I will write my words with the intention of producing meaningful content.

I would not have made this big change if my faith in a positive result was not strong. So with confidence I can say that I expect to write a lot; I expect my writing to improve a great deal; I expect my efforts will produce novels people will read. As I’ve learned more through my study, I’ve developed a better understanding of how far I have to go to be a good writer. It’s a damned long way and, at 66 years old, I have a damned short future in which to make it happen. But it’s one day at a time, one word at a time, one newly implemented writing skill at a time. And hopefully, one novel, after novel, after novel … at a time.

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