The Art of Persistence: Or How to Love The Re-write

By Ronda Simmons

Originally Posted June 2019

I have a virtual sticky note on the monitor in my office. It’s a quote from Stephen King: Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won’t carry a quitter. More than anything lately, it’s what keeps me writing.

I recently sent off my latest screenplay for a professional review. While waiting for the praise, I was sure to get back for it, I worked on my academy awards acceptance speech. I’m sure you’ll all be glad to know that NCW was on the top of my list of those to thank. I worried about whether it would make sense to consider a part-time move to Hollywood because the offers were sure to start rolling in. 

Then I got the email with the review. 

Needless to say, Octavia E. Butler could have been talking directly to me when she said, “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.”

Quotes about the improvement of one’s writing abound. Not only does Stephen King have a lot to say on the subject, Hemingway, Bradbury, Dickinson, and Emerson weigh in on the subject.

So when we have doubts about our work or we receive effective and valid critique, we are not alone.

Now that the shitty first draft is out of the way, I’m back to the story. I admit, it’s my favorite thing to do. I’ll work it. Offer it to my critique partners for input. And then I’ll send it to a professional again. It wont’ be ready for any awards, but it will be closer.

That’s the whole point. It’s a process.

Writing is hard. Crafting good writing is harder. Remember, King, Lamb, Martin, Pratchett, and Wilde all struggled.

Embrace revision. Rejoice at editing. Remember.

Craft

Quotes for Writers

Motivation for Your Inner Writer

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