A letter to my writing buddy:
So, something scary happened last night, but I’m glad it didn’t. My writing buddy and best friend Maegan almost threw in the towel with her book. She was having trouble with a chapter, and it was one of those important chapters that sets up stuff for later in the book. She couldn’t get it right, no matter how hard she tried. The feedback she’s been getting had discouraged her, and she had pretty much made the decision to give up, because her ‘writing was crap’. If she couldn’t fix the chapter, the rest of the book wouldn’t work.
I told her it was growing pains – it’s your first book, and the first draft will never be perfect. Thats what second drafts are for, and third. That’s what beta readers and editors are for. Thats what notes to yourself in your chapter files is for. I’m pretty sure every author ever has had a point in the beginning of their writer’s career that discouraged them to the point of quitting. But the difference between successful writers and non successful writers is the fact that the successful ones kept writing. You have to keep writing, no matter what! Everything is ‘fixable’.
Maegan! Never give up! Never surrender! Harper needs you! Your writing doesn’t suck! Stop doubting yourself and just do it!
Constructive criticism is a delicate subject. It hurts when someone tells you something you’ve written doesn’t quite work. But they’re not telling you that because the whole thing sucks – they’re helping you polish up this already cool, shiny thing. It’s not personal, and it’s not an attack on skill. It’s better to catch these things early and fix them. And you did! You fixed chapter 4, and it was fucking awesomesauce. Let it be a lesson to you! Never give up! Never surrender! YOU CAN DO EEEEET.
I knew she could do it. The moment I knew she could do it was when I asked her “Do you want to write a book?” and she said “yes”. That’s all you need. Really. Just the want to do it. SO DO IT.
I had the same kind of issue with my chapter 7. It was a life sucking black whole of shittyness. But in writing said shittyness, I figured out what parts of it were wrong, and wrote myself a note about. That way, when I get done and go back for edits and second draft, I’ll know exactly what I need to write. I’ve been there, my dear friend, and I feel you.
Just keep chugging away; you’ll get there.
Love you Maegan,
Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you’re not alone