Surely the rules don’t apply to me?

I have to admit to feeling a bit disheartened about my writing recently. The euphoria of having completed a manuscript rises and falls. Some days I’m elated and delirious with excitement, other days I feel as though the amount of work that it requires is just too much, that I’ll never be truly done. But that’s silly, because really, I just need to split one chapter into three smaller chapters and expand them properly. Then add in a few more chapters at the end (which are already written) and give the whole thing a sweep through to check for consistency. Not too much to do at all! And every sweep makes the story so much better; I can see that and appreciate it. Every run through always re-invigorates my excitement.

However, this is probably where I’m a bit silly.  I can’t shake the nagging doubt that, if I were actually a good enough writer, to be published – if I actually had ‘talent’ then surely it wouldn’t be so much work? Wouldn’t it all just be easier? Well… no.

On the majority of websites I’ve followed, or interviews of authors that I’ve read – no one claims that their work is easy. All of the advice says that you write that first draft and then you can throw it out the window and start again. It’s hard work. You need to be dedicated and put the graft in. So, what I’ve been learning is that: yes, talent has a part. So does inspiration and having a solid idea – a market that you’re aiming for. A plan, a structure – all of this is important in its own right.  But not only do you have to get the words down, you must be prepared to re-write and re-write, especially if you are a first time author.

It’s hard though, to realise that nothing less than perfection will be good enough. Perfection is hard to achieve, it’s not going to arrive effortlessly. A fully formed book isn’t going to fall into my lap unless I go out and buy one.

It has taken some time then, but finally the message is sinking in. I shouldn’t feel bad that I’m working hard. I should be proud of the efforts I am making. Taking care and consideration, spending time editing, is not a sign that I’m just no good and a talentless shmuck. There, that’s the lesson. It’s what I’ve been reading for years now but it’s only just sinking in. The rules apply to me too.

What do you think? Any advice or realisations?


4 thoughts on “Surely the rules don’t apply to me?

  1. This is a great post, and perfectly illustrates the fact that nothing worth achieving is easy to come by – it all involves work. We have to be prepared to ‘do the work’ and to learn. I’m reminded of those programmes we see on TV every now and again, where some naive couple reasons that because they ‘like eating in restaurants’ or ‘like staying in hotels’ they can run one – and it’s only after they fall into whole heaps of trouble that they acknowledge how much they have to learn. Some things look easy, because we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s only when we *do* know, and then we keep on going, learning, working and developing, that the rewards and satisfactions come. Good luck with your writing – and keep working hard!

    • Thank you for your advice and support, it is much appreciated!

      Television is brilliant, everyone does seem to assume at the moment that successful business’s are easy to set up and sustain…

  2. I think every writer has to work to get their writing to a good standard. If you’re a newer writing then you will undoubtedly need to work harder to get it up to scratch because you’re not as sure of what you’re really doing or aiming for. Overall though I think the amount of time a writer spends on their work has no reflection of their talent what so ever. I’m a perfectionist and I know I will keep editing and working on my writing until I have to stop, even then I won’t be happy with it, but that’s just me. Many writers of master pieces still weren’t happy with their novel. It all depends on the kind of person you are I think.

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