There is nothing that hurts more in writing than looking at you own work for the thousandth time. When you start with an idea it’s like catnip, you know, if you were a cat. It makes your mind feel heady. It’s a rush of ideas and thoughts and dreams that wrap around you.
You are pumped to write it down. The words come quickly (usually) and you are sure you are writing something amazing. It’s everything that you ever wanted in a novel. It makes you laugh and cry and yearn in just the right ways.
Then it’s done. You take a drink of tea, pat yourself on the back, catch a nap because you may not have slept in three days. You wake up and look at it again…and it sucks.
It’s chock full of purple and prose and pale imitations of the images that seemed so clear. There are scenes that have no place in your work, and half the story is missing. It starts in all the wrong places and all the characters sound too much the same. It’s like getting hit with the reality brush.
Okay, maybe it’s just me. But it hurts.
So you take out the red pen machete and start to hack away at your own work. It’s painful, but it’s not the end of the world. That rush was like finding the perfect paints for the canvas of your idea. You’ve sketched out an idea, you applied paints to the canvas, but now it’s time to shade, to smear, to smudge things together to create your work of art.
So what I’m saying is that my novella is around 19,000 words and I just crossed out a third of them.