I’m Pretty Sure It’s Perfect…

There’s a lot of romanticism when it comes to writing. The struggling author, sitting in the dark, wrestling with inner demons as he laboriously pours his soul onto paper. And once the novel is finally written, the euphoria that comes with that completion. I always envision the opening of Romancing the Stone (1984), where Kathleen Turner’s character Joan Wilder is finishing up her latest romance novel. In the scene, Joan triumphantly types the final sentences, tears streaming down her face while wearing an emotional smile. Exhausted but ecstatic, she opens a bottle of champagne and celebrates the completion of her book.

See Joan? Doesn’t she look happy? Don’t you want to be like Joan? Well, they never show Joan as she deals with the seventh revision and endless rounds of edits. If they had, this is what Joan would look like…

Appalled and crying because of the realization she’s used the word pretty (pretty sure, pretty often, pretty quiet) 500 times in a 70,000 word book.

Don’t let the romance of writing fool you, kids. The first, third, and maybe even fifth version is not perfect. And that’s ok.

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