Yesterday I attended a writers’ workshop on revising your writing.
It was very informative and useful. And it also reminded me of how tough the craft of writing is.
We were invited to bring an excerpt from something we were working on, so I brought the first 500 words of my first draft of a book-length non-fiction piece I am working on. I thought it was pretty great so I was excited to get feedback on it!
Then we were told to read it out loud.
Okay, no problem.
But as I read it…ugh! Clunky writing! Repeating words all over the place! Long sentences! What a train wreck!
Afterward it felt like I had gotten up on stage without rehearsing and got a big, fat tomato tossed at my face. SPLAT!
I listened to what my group had to say. They had great suggestions (why didn’t I think of them?). They asked hard but important questions (why didn’t I ask myself those before I started writing?).
Aaaaarrrggg!!! That draft, just like a tomato in the face, is a MESS!
The inner me started whining: But I had so much fun writing it! I thought it was brilliant when I was putting the words down on the page!
After it was all done, I couldn’t help but think, What was I thinking? This writing business is so hard…I can’t do it! I’m giving up and I’m never going to a writers’ workshop again!
Then an amazing thing happened. I threw a big, fat tomato in the face of that whiny, inner critic.
That tomato in the face of my critic said:
- It was just your first draft. Go easy on yourself.
- Now you know to read your work out loud as part of the writing process.
- Writing is just that: a process.
- I love writing too much to give up. Period. It takes work, and I’m willing to do the work.
Patience, persistence, and perseverance.
Oh, and speaking of tomatoes, here is a picture of our copious bounty from our garden this year (Ha!):