By Terra Whiteman
Posted May 5, 2012
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When we first write something–a book, a short story, an article, whatever–we love it. We think it’s the absolute best thing we’ve ever written. We sit there beaming at those clusters of words strewn into sentences strewn into paragraphs (sometimes) strewn into pages and think: “Yeah, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Unfortunately, it does. And yes, I mean unfortunately.
Because like every other aspect in our lives, writing evolves.
The fourth book in a series I’ve been working on for over three years now has just been released, the fifth and last one due out this summer. Recently I picked up the first book and glanced over it.
… And then I cringed.
I skimmed through the draft of the final book that has yet to be released, and realized the writing is different. It’s been nearly two years since I’d revised that first book, and back then I thought it was so completely filled with awesome that no one could have told me otherwise. Now I think it’s utter crap. In fact, I’m currently in the process of producing an entirely rewritten second edition after begging 1889 Labs to let me go ahead with it.
But in a sense, it’s a futile battle; I’m sure in another four years from now I’ll look back on the rewritten edition and think it’s crap as well. It seems like an endless process, and then I wonder if there is ever a point at which we achieve our apex of ‘perfect’ writing. Do we ever reach our maximum ability? Or perhaps we’re not really getting ‘better’, but instead just writing differently?
Even with these dizzying thoughts, a rewrite would at least make the series more consistent, rather than having it seem as though two different authors had written it. Lately I’ve become so obsessed with trying to improve that I spend more time analyzing each sentence than focusing on the story. My husband finally told me that it’ll never be perfect, and to just put it out and move on. It’s what every author does, they move on. After this rewrite, so will I… albeit reluctantly.
I wonder how many other published authors look back on their earliest work and feel like burning it?
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