At the end of the day, there really is no such thing as a good or bad writer. If you write, and you have the drive to do it, you are a writer.
It does not matter if you are published (I’m not…yet) or if you have entirely other careers. If you just write for fun and keep it to yourself, or are working on your fourth book, or like to post your work on free archives for others to enjoy…then you are a writer.
All first drafts and subsequent revisions are pure crap. Nobody is good the first time around. Sure, after awhile you’ll have some practice and know-how under your belt and you’ll find that with practice, some gems from the first draft end up in the polished final product.
Writing the first draft isn’t what makes you good or bad. It’s rewriting, examining, revising, and so. Much. Editing.
Even now, I get frustrated sometimes on my first drafts. I know the way I work now and I leave placeholders for myself in my first draft to guide my revisions and rewrites later, but there are times I have to close the laptop and walk away to take a breather.
When my characters will not speak to each other without the perfect conditions, or I just cannot figure out how to make a specific combat move work, or I’m trying to connect with something intangible about a scene and I just come up with withered turds…it’s hard to remember that I know, eventually, what I see, hear, and feel in my head will make sense.
Because I’ve done it before, and I will do it again, and I won’t stop doing it for as long as I can help it.
But everything that comes after the first draft is done is what makes a good writer good. Because no one is good at the outset. It will come in practice, you will get better at it and more confident.
In all my life, through all the jobs and careers I’ve tried and the adventures I’ve been on, I never shed my identity as a writer. It’s only just occurred to me in the past few years that it’s what I should be doing, but it was something I always just knew about myself. I’m a writer because I write.
Today, though, I’m a better writer than I was before because from practice, I have learned that it’s making the mountain from a molehill of a draft is the real work.
If you’re doing these things with your work: revising, editing, reviewing, and rewriting (and more rewriting)…then you are a good writer, no matter what anyone says–especially the voice in your head.
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