My Biggest Takeaway from the National Book Festival

The National Book Festival is like Christmas for bookworms in Washington D.C.: there is a lot of anticipation to see someone who is known around the world. On a rainy Saturday, I went to the festival to see Sabaa Tahir, Marie Lu, Nicola Yoon, Roxane Gay, and Angie Thomas. Basically, I went to see my personal heroes: talented authors. 

You know what one thing they pretty much all said?

First drafts are terrible.

And the process of writing one is really painful.

This was of immense comfort to me. I am always frustrated with my first drafts; they never match the vision of the novel that I had in my head. Also, so much of the process is me clutching my hair and chanting: “This is horrible. I am an awful writer.”

You know where they said the magic was? In revision. I believe it was Nicola Yoon who said she wasn’t a good writer, but she was a really good rewriter. 

That gave me a lot of hope. As I struggle through the current rough draft of my novel, I will no longer worry that I am not a good writer because it sounds like nobody is. I just have to strive to be a good rewriter. That is something that I think I can handle. 

Need an editor to fix your bad first draft? I am happy to makeover your manuscript like Cher made over Tai in Clueless. Just scootch on over here.

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