Before I start, let me state unequivocally that if you are writing or thinking of writing, I congratulate you and hope it goes well.
Now, despite that enthusiasm, I have to express my dismay at the number of people who don’t seem to want to improve their writing.
Over the last two years, I have read thousands of pages—outlines, scenes, plays, chapters—and have been amazed to watch so many people get so much better at their craft. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen plenty for whom their only draft is their final draft.
Perhaps it is ego that suggests me and my fellow readers have nothing to contribute to their work. That all of our comments fall well short of their prodigious talents and would only weaken the work. But if that’s the case, why ask for our input in the first place? If the work is that good, why do you need our validation, our applause?
For most, if not all cases, I think it is more likely fear and laziness. The belief that if the piece isn’t perfect on the first pass, it never will be. What these people seem to fail to realize—or perhaps recognize all too well—is that a learning curve isn’t just some gentle bend in the road. Rather, it is a steep daunting hill, and to climb that hill, they must invest energy.
If you ask me for my input, my thoughts, my impressions, I will give them to you freely with the understanding that they are just my opinions. You don’t have to follow them. This is your work, to be executed your way. I am only offering alternative views.
At the same time, if you continually ask for my thoughts (or someone else’s) but make no effort to change—in any directions—then these efforts have been wasted.
Perhaps the writer was correct and the work was perfect out of the gate. Congratulations. It would be the first time I would ever have been witness to such an event.
I have no pretenses about my own work—or I don’t think I do. My work will never be perfect, but it can always be better than it was yesterday, and almost as good as it will be tomorrow. And the more and more varied input I get, the closer I get to the top of that learning curve.
At least until the next project begins.
(Image is property of owner and is used here without permission, because I never learn.)