Editing a rough draft is a skill that is learned over time, knowing how much to add, what to take away, what to work on so that each scene begins to sing. Trial and error are a writer’s constant companions and that is why writers should never be afraid. Okay, it’s fine to be a little fearful some of the time, we are human after all but writers should take chances.
Writers should experiment. Writers who play it safe may produce a competent piece of work but it is also likely to be firmly middle of the road and unable to grab or hold a reader’s attention. On the flip side we can’t all be outliers writing experimental novels and breaking every rule just because we can. We have to find a balance.
Writers should push themselves. They should experiment to find their voice, their genre, their style. You may think a particular genre suits your skillset but until you experiment how will you know if there is another genre out there that fits you like a hand in a glove? Finding your creative home is very different from dwelling in your comfort zone. It is perfectly possible to challenge yourself even if you are writing a familiar concept in a genre you have written in before.
Just as we all know when we are playing it safe, so too I believe we all know when we have let our imaginations take free flight because we start to produce work that is edgier, sharper and more arresting. I think of it as writing with the handbrake off and I believe it is what we should all strive for. If you’re a little bit scared you’re probably doing it right.
So next time you catch yourself playing it safe, think about ways you can take your writing up a gear, take a chance, let yourself go without the shackles of overthinking each sentence or constantly referring to your notes which tell you character B has to do X by chapter Y and don’t whatever you do try to edit as you write.
Trust in your skill as a writer, write with the handbrake off and enjoy the ride.
Today’s blog is the latest in my Flower Seller Thursday collection of writing related blogs leading up to publication day of my first novel The Flower Seller on Thursday 2nd June #FlowerSellerThursday