It relates rather to being able to separate out who you are in all the strands of the writing process. And it points to the biggest problem I’ve met in my own progress and talking to others.
We confuse writing with critiquing. All of us have an inner critic which operates in many areas of our lives; in writing especially it’s a killer. If we write a sentence then immediately judge it as rubbish, it stops us moving on to the next sentence because we think we have to fix the last one before we move on.
A few years ago I interviewed an American who’d written for Hollywood and his language about this was off-putting but accurate. He called the first version of what he wrote on any project, the vomit draft. Sounds horrible, but he meant that the words poured out and he didn’t stop them. He didn’t care how un-grammatical it came out; how illogical it seemed or how rubbish his dialogue. The important thing was that it came out.
Everything could be fixed. That was his motto and I took his point. We live in the days of computers and programs. We can write a scene, not know where it belongs and understand it will become clear, at some point.
When I think of those writers with their candles and quill pens, I realise how lucky I am to have this ease of changing anything and if necessary, everything, about what I write.
There’s a quote I love from the American writer James Michener, ‘I’m not a very good writer, but I’m a very good re-writer.’
That's my aim and it will be a work in progress as long as I keep writing.