Before bed last night, I clicked on Scrivener to read over a chapter from my new novel. I was tired and had few expectations for greatness as my blurry eyes started scanning down the page.
And then the strangest thing happened, words flew randomly out of my head, and they made sense. Some even bordered on profound. Others elegantly enhanced the previous draft. I felt like I was on fire. My brain could do no wrong. It was a great feeling.
Unfortunately, it’s a feeling that visits me much too infrequently.
Writing always comes fairly easy for me, but I must admit that it’s not always great writing. For every profound statement there are plenty of duds like “There was something non-descript and uninteresting sitting on the counter. I think.” Hopefully, I exaggerate.
But the larger point is this: a draft of a novel or a story or whatever will never be written evenly. Some passages will naturally soar the first time they are written and other passages will naturally sour after they sit for a while.
What’s a writer to do? The only thing that can be done. Re-read. Re-write. Re-word. Re-phrase. Re-do. Renew.
The rough stretches and awkward phrasing can be eliminated, but that is where the writer earns his keep — thriving in the trenches. We can’t afford to live off the harvest of a fruitful and plentiful mind. That might only come around once in a great while. But any poor sentence can always be re-written and made better.
So I write regardless of how well my brain is cooperating. Even when I don’t feel so inspired or when words get jumbled and I keep using the same phrasing over and over, I don’t stop writing. I keep pushing through for quantity, knowing that I will be back to comb through once again (or more) for quality.
My draft writing is uneven. It can range from excellent to poor, but it never stays that way.