I can think of very few tests to your will as a writer than transcribing your written draft into a typed one. Having about three different projects for which I have filled up entire notebooks already, I decided it was time to get a jump-start on the typing portion of my writing by going ahead and transcribing them into my computer. Personally, I love the transcribing process; often, it’s like rediscovering your work and appreciating it from the beginning that you’ve been distanced from as the story progresses closer to the end. But let me tell you, it is a sheer test of will sometimes, because I’m pretty sure, in transcribing, you are also being introduced to some of the worst writing you’ve ever done.
As much as I come across a paragraph that makes me wince and wonder how I ever dared to consider myself a wordsmith, though, I come across a paragraph that makes me elated to think that I had crafted something so lovely just on whim and inspiration. My rough draft ends up being a hodge-podge work of some two-bit hack and the creative genius I know myself to be. I have to suffer through the rough spots with the ever-repeated mantra of “We can go back and edit this, we can go back and edit this,” but then I’m bolstered back up at the nick of time with a beautiful passage, a clever turn of phrase, or a scene that reminds me why I truly do this. Just as the writing seems to be at its most amateur, I seemed to have kicked myself in the ass and remembered what makes a good story.
Transcribing a rough draft, I’m realizing, is a true test of your mettle, and a good reminder that, no matter how good you thought something was, there’s always room for improvement. I’m nearly done with one of the notebooks already (currently two more to go), but I’m glad to say that this makes me even more eager to brush up Serpent in a Cage and make it perfect, even if the task will be incredibly daunting.
But, hey, if it wasn’t hard, then everyone would be doing it, right?