Never be satisfied with a first draft. In fact, never be satisfied with your own stuff at all, until you’re certain it’s as good as your finite powers can be. – Jon Winokur
When I started writing, I wrote only once and that was it. The feeling of ecstasy and pure joy at having created something out of nothing was heady. Then I would show it to a friend or my sister, who by the way have little or no critique sense because they have no ‘eye’ for it. Of course they ‘oohhed’ and ‘aahhed’ over it, telling me how ‘good’ I was.
Seriously, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is King!
What am I saying? Never be satisfied with what you churn out at first. Take a second, third and even fourth look then pass it on to a trained pair of eyes for another look-see. Never underestimate the power of editing; copy, hard or technical.
As a writer just getting comfortable in your own skin, learn to push yourself hard. If you have to submit an article for a contest or you just have a deadline, start early. Don’t just send in what you wrote, the very day you wrote it. Don’t succumb to the temptation of showing the world what a gem of a piece you have created on the spur of the moment. Take your time to look it through.
When I started passing my works to others for an opinion I got a lot of comments, crossed out text, replaced words, re-arranged sentences and I was livid! I was tempted to reject the diagnosis and keep my ailments close to my heart, after all they were mine. But I got wise and it helped a lot.
I imagine that some of us may also be at that point. Forget what your friends have said. Really, you should. Maybe they’ve called you Shakespeare, or Elechi Amadi, or you’ve even fancied yourself as the next Chinua Achebe. Put all that at the back burner and get it straight. After all, you will never make it outside your little closet if you don’t get as good as these guys.
The truth is we’ll never know how amazing we can be unless we do all that we can to get there.