I was reading a recent post on The Writing Life, and I got to thinking about improving one’s writing.
I probably don’t devote as much time to writing as I could – I do have to spend time in the real world earning a crust after all. I still write a lot – it may not always be my current WIP, it may be a work-related report, a blog entry, a blog comment, a forum post etc, or it may be something related to editing what I have previously written. A long time ago, when I started writing my first novel, I fondly imagined that having completed it, that was it finished. Needless to say I’ve learnt a lot since then. At the moment it takes me about a year to complete a first draft. I need at least a further year to get the novel into an acceptable state, and even then there may be further tinkering depending on feedback. After all, I’m under no illusions that my writing is perfect, or ever will be. Thus reports of authors who have been so successful that they are able to negotiate contracts that prohibit their publisher from editing a single word of their illustrious prose fill me with amazement at the wilful self-blindness of these authors. I recall a notorious review on Amazon where a certain horror writer who shall remain nameless, demonstrated to perfection in her response to criticism of her recent bestseller just how badly she did require editing. But in her eyes, her writing was perfect.
I am more likely to suffer from the opposite problem – thinking my work is far worse than it really is. That’s the trouble with writing – so much of it is subjective and down to the reader’s perception.