The Artdog Quote(s) of the Week
Last week’s quote(s) addressed my need (parallel with those who participated in NaNoWriMo) to revise the manuscript for A Bone to Pick, the second book (still very much in progress) of the XK9 “Bones” Trilogy. And I’m trying to cultivate Mabel Wetherbee’s attitude that “the best part of writing is editing.”
The beta-reading review
I’ve been reading through comments from my beta-readers who’ve read my first “finished” draft. I’m preparing notes and girding up my loins, because clearly, “finished” badly needed those quote-marks. I get it. No first draft is perfect (EVER). Every writer knows that, going in. And while writing a first draft is exciting and interesting and it definitely has its thrilling moments, I’m not sure I’d call it “the best part.”
Reviewing betas’ comments about where they connected and where it fell flat is both helpful and a little daunting. More helpful than daunting, because I’m an optimist with a high opinion of myself, and I like a writing challenge. But I would definitely say reading a critique is not “the best part of writing,” either.
The best part of writing
No, the best part of writing, for me, is the feeling that “okay, this time I really nailed it” in the finished draft. This is the one that passes muster with the editor, and comes out on the other end of the long process of rewrites, reviews, corrections, and more rewrites. The refining process can be tedious and humbling, but it’s worth it.
I’m still a fair stretch down the road from that goal, at present. There are still a lot of dead-wrongs, ho-hums, near-misses, and partial hits to work through. But I must go through all of them, no matter how challenging they are, to get to the best part of writing.
Fuel for the future
As with any creative project, there are parallels between this editing project with how we live our lives. Unlike writing a story, it’s not possible to go back and change the things we’ve done in real life. They’re in the past. They’re done. But we can learn from them. We can look back and think, “if I had done this one thing differently, what would have changed? How could I have inspired a better outcome?”
I think if we are self-reflective, we (a) are prepared to confront life “ahead of the game,” and (b) are in a better position to learn from the past. It’s not exactly “editing the past to suit ourselves,” but more like interrogating the past to learn as much as possible from it.
In life, as in writing, the best part is how we mine the past for the materials with which to build a new and better future.
IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Authors Publish, for the quote from Mabel E. Wetherbee (whom I can’t track down online! She’s allegedly the author of Whisper of the Hare and The Illusionist’s Pin, but I can’t find a primary source); to AZ Quotes, for the quote from Marion Dane Bauer, and to QuotesGram, via Pinterest (note QuotesWarehouse no longer seems to exist), for the unattributed quote about not getting stuck in the past, for the unattributed quote about not getting stuck in the past.