I WROTE A BAD CHAPTER AND I’M SORRY
Yeah so there’s a reason you’re not supposed to re-read your stuff until AFTER the writing is finished; it’s so that you don’t break your flow and ruin your momentum.
And seriously, in the end I’m just going to go back and re-read the whole thing anyway, it’s not like if I don’t take this chance right now I’ll never get another one …
I guess I’m just conditioned to seek immediate gratification, only in this case ‘gratification’ means ‘confirming that all of my cripping self-doubt is actually warranted because my first draft is not a flawless masterpiece’.
I believe I spoke about pragmatism, and how good it is. I need to go back and read that one, it seems.
but at the same time, I doubt everybody has the discipline necessary to NEVER look back, and the important thing is not to avoid it altogether – just to do it at the appropriate time. and if, like me, you can’t help but replicate the efforts of Orpheus, it’s important to not beat yourself up about it, because you’re not turning anybody into salt – you’re just looking back instead of going forward, and the worst crime that has been committed is slowing down your own process of getting things done. it’s fairly harmless.
I mean so what if I sacrificed the integrity of a character that I really like specifically because they have a lot of integrity just so that I could shoehorn in a dramatic moment for the main character? I can change it later! it’s not like the moment is bad; yes it plays out like the very corniest and heavy-handed of teen dramas, but there’s no reason that I can’t salvage it later, and in fact the whole point of drafting is that I will go back and salvage it later.
I honestly don’t know if this is a problem that is fairly rare amongst writers, the whole ‘can’t not look’ thing combined with ‘must validate self-doubt to prove that self-sabotage is the right thing to do because all of my efforts are shameful to begin with’ urges, but this isn’t just about writing. this is a lifestyle choice; this is a philosophy. this is a martial freaking art.
yes, I could go back and change it right now and insulate my ego.
I could let it sit, and get used to not needing my ego insulated to begin with. because at the end of the day, this particular instance of disappointment with myself is … pointless. worrying about it now is pointless. worrying about it if it happens to still be in the final copy after it’s been printed and published and distributed to stores for selling – that has some purpose to it. but anything before that is …
yeah. it’s a skill, getting used to transitioning an immediate worry and sense of failure to looking forward to how you can apply what you’ve learnt in the long-term, when you get your next chance. And I guess that’s part of it, too; in many other aspects of life we don’t get many second chances, because more often than not we need people to give them to us. but if it’s all up to you, rather than some other person, then … well, it’s all up to you.
This isn’t even a mistake, this bad chapter that I’ve written, because nothing ‘wrong’ has been done. there is no consequence of note that come about as a result of this chapter having been written, and certainly not a moral one. so I feel like the anxiety I’m feeling is my mind trying to re-enact a scenario where feeling like I’ve made a mistake would make sense – if there was actually anything at stake for making a mistake to begin with, because that’s what my brain is used to doing.
honestly, even if just for being able to realise things like this, writing this draft has been more than worth it.
I kind of can’t wait to see what happens with the next one.