Editing. Slash and burn is probably just as correct a term where I am concerned. A first draft isn’t a proper story, as it is too random and erratic to make much sense to anything but the writer. The second draft should be the point where a beta reader can be given the manuscript and can make suggestions. It is taking me a long time to move my first draft of my Steampunk Work-in-Progress into this second phase. Why might it be taking me so long?
Perfection: We all know there is no such thing as perfection, yet I am constantly trying to achieve it. However, everything you read or hear about submitting work says to send the very best/most polished manuscript you can manage. Sometimes this feels like a no win situation, where I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t. The only person who can really make the call on whether or not my manuscript is ready for beta reading is me. And it is isn’t ready.
Lack of Confidence: Am I obsessing because of feelings of inadequacy? I really don’t know the answer to this one. I have completed a university course in creative writing, have achieved top marks in my grammar courses, have collected half a bookcase of ‘How to Write’ books, and still have days when I wonder if I’m just going through a lengthy bout of mental masturbation. Most days, I believe it is a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ when it comes to my dreams of being published. Other days, I am living in a pit of dark despair. Not getting my draft finished might just be displacement behaviour…
(Excuse me while I go put George Michael’s ‘Faith’ on continuous play.)
Depression: Well, yes, I suffer from clinical depression. So do a damn lot of other talented writers. I deal with it on a daily basis. Thanks to the love and support of my family, friends and the fine people of the medical profession, I beat back the black dog most days. In fact, there are days I can easily believe that my depression was just a phase I’ve grown through. But I’m not going to stop taking my medication, because I am delusional. Actually, I believe my depression gives a better insights into creating tension within a story, and making suffering believable to a reader.
Laziness: I write everyday. Some people might be surprised when I list this. However, but I have my lazy days. This is when the house actually gets cleaned, so it is a different kind of laziness.
Those are my personal flaws. What are yours?
Now, it is time to return to the salt mine, comrades…