I’ve always thought of myself as more of an editor than a writer.
Editing is essential for me because my first drafts are always bad. I mean baaaad. Like unbelievably bad. Like cringe-worthy bad. Like what business do you have putting pen to paper—
You get it.
Anyways, I just finished the 8th full rewrite of the book and lyrics for Octets. This version of the show has a deliberate plot, motivated, complex, interesting characters, and is (FINALLY) an appropriate length.
However, almost as soon as I typed “End of Play”, I asked myself the same exact question that I asked myself at the end of each of the previous seven drafts.
Is this good?
Like, really, is this even good??
What follows this broad, doubt-inducing question are always several other equally annoying and increasingly specific questions:
Is it well-written?
Is it funny?
Is it deep?
Does this song need to be this long?
Is the rhyme scheme for this stanza wack?
Why does this character act this way in this scene, but a different way in this different scene?
Is the punctuation consistent?
And lastly, the biggest, most painful question of all:
Is this even worth it?
I think this last question is the most important one. It always causes me to rethink the purpose of continuing to put forth so much time and energy. It never fails to pierce my entire being with a feeling of complete deflation.
But no matter how much time I’ve spent on this project, trying my best to side-step the frustrations in order to make it better, the answer to the "Is this even worth it?" question always ends up being “Yes.”
Ultimately, if reading over what you have written strikes up that undeniable feeling of passion, when you're crazy about the characters and the story that they're telling, then it has to be worth it.
For me, editing has always been about chasing that feeling within every individual scene, every individual character, and every individual line.
I’ve been feeling that feeling more and more with each rewrite.
I think that’s good enough.