|Oh, yeah, he's a snob, too.|
But they can suck your soul.
Every time I look at a first draft and start editing, my inner critic starts shouting about how bad I am at this. How anyone would want to read such dreck is beyond imagining. Yadda yadda.
I have to shove that critic in the fridge and then move the stove in front of it. I can't let him nibble away at me, increasing my doubt with every single word. My belief that I'm a fairly decent writer has to count for something. After all, I wouldn't have had the two books published if I was awful. Or would I?
Maybe I'm a hack. There's no degree behind my writing, there's only a lifetime of reading and an intense desire to tell stories that entertain not just me but other people, too. Does that make me a hack? I doubt it but it's possible.
But then again, maybe that's all it takes: a lifetime of reading and the intense desire to tell stories. I've been actively trying to be a storyteller (first in comics, now in prose) for a lot of years. All that practice is starting to pay off. Re-writes on AoD were a lot easier this time around than before.
By that I mean that I could anticipate the changes the editors wanted and work out their arguments to include that stuff in the writing. I wasn't always successful, but I did a helluva lot less re-writing than I did on the first Evolver book. And the second Evolver book is in re-writes and it's SO much better, exponentially better than the first draft. I'm hitting a rhythm with these books. Yeah, they're short, more novella than novel, but that's almost harder. There's no room to stretch out and pad a little.
And it's showing in the re-writes. Showing a lot more and it's shiny.
The corollary to that is that the first drafts of other things are better, too. I'll never be Heinlein, not sure I want to be, but if my re-writes become less and less painless and more like head-scratching-what-the-hell-was-I-thinking kinds of things then I'm definitely leveled up.
In the meantime, re-writes still nudge my inner critic to start shouting at me. Good thing the fridge is soundproof. And in the garage.