Today I had a target to achieve. 3000 Words and I could call it a good day. It is 14:11 and I am currently failing at that target. But that is absolutely ok! Because sometimes success is not quantified in the number of words you write in a day, but the quality of the words or the lesson you learned.
Let me explain. I got to my desk this morning with an idea for what I wanted to write. It was an opening chapter on an as yet unnamed piece of fantasy I am writing. It is meant to introduce you, the reader, to the landscape and the world and excite you.
I got to 1100 words pretty quickly. And whilst I made myself a coffee, I thought to myself. Good Start. I then thought. No it wasn’t. It was twaddle. It was dull. It did nothing. I had wasted my time. This was a tiny bit disheartening. But only a tiny bit. As I enjoyed my coffee (Nescafe Black Gold if you are interested – Milk & 2 sugars, or 2 and coo if you are a local, and the milk goes in after the granules but before the water) I thought, “Hang on a minute! It isn’t a complete waste at all!” As I re-examined my work, I realised that it had put the characters at an unexpected location, and that actually made the plot work better. And if I needed anything from the first thousand words, I could always reveal it in dialogue.
The point I am getting at is twofold. Sometimes what you write isn’t good enough for what you intended. That is fine. That is normal. As a writer we need to be able to let go or we betray our readers with mediocrity. The second lesson. Even in trash, there is always something worthwhile. Whether it is just the time spent exercising that creative muscle of yours, one good line, one good idea or one unexpected twist that took you to an unexpected place, there is always value. Succinctly, don’t be afraid to cut large portions from your work. But don’t forget, nothing is ever truly wasted.
Til next time