My writing goal for last year was to complete the first working draft of my novel and with a concerted effort over Christmas and New Year I made it to the last line. To get there, the unlikely plotlines and poor writing meandering through the final chapters of the previous version were thrown into Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan’s good rubbish bin:
“A good writer needs a good rubbish bin. My one strength as a writer is an awareness of how mediocre most of what I write is. Perhaps a good writer is a bad writer who is a better rewriter.”
The more I write, the more honest I think I am with myself about how mediocre a lot of my writing is, and the more ruthless I can be to improve it. Luckily editing has always been my favourite aspect of writing, playing with words that are already there being far more enjoyable to me than tackling the ominous emptiness of a blank page.
So this year I’m looking forward to reshaping my novel, filing away its rough edges, adding sights, sounds, and smells, trying hard to give it more depth. When I think I’ve got it right, I’ll upload the opening chapters to an online forum and let other writers tell me if this book is coming to the end of its long road from mediocre writing to good writing or not.