Courtesy floating robes
Courtesy Floating Robes

You finished writing something! Congratulations! All your time and sweat and inspiration and maybe even some blood has contributed into a new idea and a powerful work you feel some measure of pride for. Yay!

Now go rewrite it.

Any writer who’s actually worth their ink will tell you that you’re an idiot if you think the first draft of anything is worth reading. I mean, yeah, you have good ideas, interesting characters, some cracking dialog, and maybe even a powerful theme or two, but let’s face it, after tens or hundreds of thousands of words, you’re at a very different place at the end of the story than when you were at the beginning. Once you reach the end, you can go back to the beginning with fresh eyes and start pulling out things that don’t work. Use a scalpel in some places, a hatchet in others, and the rubber cement of new words in between.

It’s arduous at times, and takes time away from the fresh new ideas dancing like sugar plums in our heads, but it’s ultimately rewarding.

Rewrites make our stories better. As we smooth out rough passages and form more coherent connections between the events in the story, we make the read more enjoyable. Taking the time to rewrite means refining our story more and more. Sometimes this means losing words left and right, and other times you’ll find chapters growing or splitting to accommodate more text. Either way, once you’re done with the rewrite, you get to feel accomplished all over again.

The way I see it, every rewrite yields something new, and there’s always something that can be touched up a little. So if your writing is out there, and nobody seems to be picking it up, keep rewriting until someone does. Find your rewards in this process, and the rewards of actual recognition will be all the sweeter as a result.