It will always suck

Another day of working on the novel, another crisis of confidence — as far as I am into the book, and even though I passed an earlier draft as my PhD dissertation, it still feels like a mess, and nowhere near where I want it to be.

But I had an epiphany today: It will always suck.

That may not seem like much of an epiphany. But what I realized is this: No matter what, the draft will always suck, because it's a draft. And drafts suck. Until it's in final draft, and completed, I'm going to think it sucks. Even if the only thing wrong with it is that a single comma is misplaced, I'm going to think it sucks until the comma is in its rightful place.

So I can't get hung up on how it sucks. Because it's meaningless. If it sucks when it's finished, then that's one thing. But sucking when it's not finished? Well, that's just the natural state of an unfinished book. So it shouldn't be a concern. The important thing is to not get anxious, and to do the work.

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at www.jonathanball.com.

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2 thoughts on “It will always suck

  1. I still think my novel needs editing. But I’ve just been on the Creative Process part of your website (great site, thanks) and clicked on Heinlein’s Rules and … clearly it’s time for me to let go and stop tinkering with it.

    So next week I’ll mail it out and start collecting rejection letters. And then, I’ll get back to work on the new one. While continuing to write a poem a day and edit it. Etc.

    Thanks for the kick.

  2. Mine needs crazy amounts of editing, but at least the edits are making it better. After a point though, yes, you just have to give up and start something new.

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