What I think it means is that in order to get something worth publishing at the end of the long road of actually writing the damn thing in the first place you have to START ALL OVER AGAIN!
How. Unfair. Is. That.
Seriously, we sit here day after day getting ideas out of our heads pouring blood, sweat and tears (OMG THE TEARS) onto our laptops/paper and we finally reach the end and have to go back to the beginning and start again.
You don’t do that with other hobbies, do you? I don’t start a jumper, cast off the last stitch then go back to the first one again. I never start an evening of WoW, get a load of achievements and then have to log back in the next day to get them again. How pointless would that be?
Here in lies the problem, I think for me. I see rewriting as a pointless exercise. It’s not real writing. Writing is getting the words down while they are raw and fresh. While the idea is still half-baked and forming. While your character can still change their name, or eye colour, or hair colour halfway through a scene of be drinking water, writing a novel and cooking dinner simultaneously.
That’s not true though, is it? It’s not true that rewriting isn’t REAL writing. Rewriting is one step closer to the gold. It’s one step nearer that final polished product we all hope for when we place that first ill-advised letter on the blank page. It’s the next phase…
I wrote a story over the summer. It’s not a very good one. I mean it has all the bits for a standard romance but it’s jumpy. There’s a piece in the middle where you can tell I flipped from one idea to the next, and then ending is disparate.
This is where the rewriting comes in. I want to sit down and write the story again. See if I come up with the same things now that I know the characters and I understand them. I have more inspiration, and (I think) a deeper understanding of what the book actually wants to be. There are still decisions to be made, of course, but now it feels closer.
Time to rewrite.