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The Art of Not Giving Up: Or How to Love The Re-Write

June 19, 2019 10:24 AM | JC Lynne (Administrator)

By Ronda Simmons

I have a virtual sticky note on the monitor in my office. It’s a quote from Stephen King:

“Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won’t carry a quitter.”

More than anything lately, it’s what keeps me writing.

Angelina Litvin – Unsplash

I recently sent off my latest screenplay for a professional review. While waiting for the praise, I was sure to get back for it, I worked on my academy awards acceptance speech. I’m sure you’ll all be glad to know that NCW was on the top of my list of those to thank. I worried about whether it would make sense to consider a part-time move to Hollywood because the offers were sure to start rolling in.

Then I got the email with the review.

Needless to say, this quote from Octavia E. Butler could have been written primarily for me: 

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking its good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.”

Faced with a mountain of edits on my masterpiece, this quote from Stephen King is also apropos:

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

Put another way, maybe Papa Ernest Hemingway himself said it best:

“The first draft of anything is shit.”

Now that the “shitty first draft” is out of the way, I’m back to the story. It’s my favorite thing to do. I’ll finish it and ask my critique partners for input. Then I’ll send it to the professional again.

And again, it probably won’t be ready for awards season, but it will be closer.

That’s the whole point.

Here are some more writing quotes to help you when rewriting is hard:

“One thing that helps is to give me permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” Lawrence Block

For more quotes on writing and re-writing, check these websites:

Quotes for Writers

Rewriting Quotes

18 Motivational Quotes To Bring Out The Writer In You.


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