Last week while I was talking to one of our members about re-writing, it dawned on me the fear that many writers have with the re-write. I know of this fear because I’ve battled it and still battle it. This is the fear of going back to the page and finding out where you went wrong.
Re-writing: The Dragon Many Writers Are Afraid To Slay
I don’t know what it is about re-writing that intimidates some of us but I think it has to do with perfection, finding errors, and quite frankly, wanting to be done. So, I’ve compiled a short list of 5 Writer’s Tips to help overcome the fear of the re-write.
- Accept that re-writing will make each and every version of your screenplay, book, web series better. Some wise person once said, “Writing is re-writing.”
- Break the re-writing into steps so you won’t get overwhelmed. Instead of looking at it as this whole re-write, start looking at it as steps. For example, I gotta fix my main character’s backstory, or I gotta add more details to the world, etc.
- Ask yourself, “Do I want to give my story a real chance?” At the end of the day, great writers want their stories to be read, heard, felt, and seen. If re-writing is going to strengthen your chances of success, don’t you want that?
- Accept that perfection is only a word in the dictionary. Your first draft isn’t perfect and that’s as it should be. Re-writing allows your writing to become better. We’re writing because we believe in story. Perfection traps us in fear and leads to procrastination.
- Allow a couple of days if not a week between drafts to allow change to unfold in your mind. When I wrote novels I gave myself seven days between the editing process so that I could read my manuscript with new eyes. New eyes give us courage and help to make the re-write process easier.
The more we write, the more we re-write
It seems some writers have the re-write process down to a science. Others of us, legitimately, struggle with facing that page again. Wherever you are in your process, remember the best stories with the best characters will rise to the top. Re-writing allows us to produce the best writing of our lives.
Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She’s a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.