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I'm starting to form an actual writing process.

This might be a nerdy thing to get excited about, but I realized the other day that I'm actually starting to form a legitimate, step-by-step process for writing my books.

Let me explain.  When I wrote novels before, it was always kind of a "let's just see where this goes" situation.  Even when I started with an outline and blocked out time to work on them, it didn't feel like a structured hobby - just something I did now and then.

But now it feels like I've got direction.  I've got a good idea of how long things take me to do, what sequence I need to do them in, and how important each piece is.  It makes writing feel less like a nebulous thing I do in my spare time and more like an actual job.  That might sound sad ("It's work now instead of fun!"), but actually it's really comforting.

It's kind of like how on your first day at a new office everything seems foreign and intimidating, but then a couple of months later you can confidently find your way around and just focus on getting quality work done.

For example: I used to agonize over the revision process.  Part of it, I'm sure, is that I've always been kind of a narcissistic bastard and I used to think, "Why would I need to revise my work?  I'm pretty sure I got it right the first time."  But more importantly, I never understood how you could tell when something was "done."  It makes me think of that Michelangelo quip about chipping away all the pieces of marble that don't look like a statue - good advice for people who already know what they're doing, but kind of a dickish thing to say to everyone else.

But now I feel like I've got a better handle on it.  I've realized that three passes at something is usually good enough to get work to a point where I can honestly say I'm happy enough to share.  The first pass is just the rough stuff, the pure, raw output.  I write that, then wait a couple months.  The second pass is a synthetic rewrite where I fill in all the plot holes and logic gaps I can find.  Once that's done, I need other people's input.  (I'd love to get more, but as I wrote before, it's tough to find volunteers.)  The third pass is a sandpaper rewrite to smooth out all the jagged corners and consider all the feedback.

After that, any other rewrites are purely optional.  I could go at something for a fourth or fifth time, or however many more I want... but it's not that important.  You have to stop sometime.  The fact is, reading successful authors' work over the last couple of years has made me realize that every book could use more revision.

I've seen traditionally published bestsellers with typos, for Christ's sake.

Just gonna leave this here....

People just stop sweating the small stuff after awhile.  Perfection is something that only makes sense if you're insane or naive.

I'm even starting to take failure and disappointment less personally.  I Need a Job is failing to set the world on fire, but so what?  I didn't invest too much financially and even I admitted that it's not a particularly marketable premise.  That doesn't mean I should feel ashamed.  It just means that I succeeded at something deeply personal, and now it's time to work on something else.

Hell, even the title debacle from last week has already become trivial.  So I can't call my book "Secondhand Souls."  Who cares?  There's other titles.  I'll figure one out.  (And besides, it could be way worse.  At least it isn't a "Billy and the Cloneasaurus" situation.)

Right now everything feels like it's in focus.  The fear of the unknown has given way to a casual routine and it's the most comfortable I've ever been with my writing.

Is... is this what confidence feels like?

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