love the work, revise the work, love the work
January 16, 2012
Advice to writers: You have to love what you’re writing. I have a very practical reason for this piece of advice that doesn’t have anything to do with the market or how readers can tell if you’re phoning it in if your heart isn’t in it. You have to love what you’re writing because you’re going to be living with this thing for a very long time. You have to love what you write because when you’re reading it for the eighth time, after revising it twice, you have to still love it enough to care that it’s the best you can possibly make it. When you’ve changed one sentence ten times and it still doesn’t look right, you have to love the work enough that you’ll change it an eleventh time. And then read the whole book over again to make sure you didn’t break something. When you want to stab your eyes out because you’ve read this thing so many times and you can’t tell anymore if it’s good or crap or a string of incomprehensible babbling, you have to hang on to the thing that you love about it, and have faith that it’s going to turn out okay, and keep reading it yet again, paying attention to all the little ways you can make the work better.
If you don’t love and believe in what you’re writing, you’re not going to be able to do this.
(I’m almost done with the latest round of revisions on Kitty 11. I’ve read it through twice this round.)