Best advice for the arts

“Let’s do it again, and this time, try not to suck.”

Those are the immortal words of my college theater professor. We should have been off book the week before, we messing around with our costumes, and it was a Friday.

It was something we needed to hear.

Since I’ve cried against “brutal honesty” criticism in the past, that I approve of his statement might surprise you. But I’m also always open to the idea that there is a time and place for almost everything.


In this case, he was working with a group of people who were already behind schedule and not working as hard as they should have. He had critiqued us multiple times and always shown regard and respect for hard work.

He was not critiquing our abilities or knowledge, but our work ethic. And, most importantly, it was a very valid critique. We weren’t doing our best.

And right now, as I come off a read through of Red Witch, I hear that funky Canadian accent, “Let’s do it again, and this time, try not to suck.”

I wish I could say it’s a first draft. But really, it’s the first draft of the third attempt at this book. It’s held together with spit, duct tape, and sarcastic quips.

I’ve never been a writer who likes refining my work, even when I can see the problems. Drafting a story is easy. Making that draft good is hard.

And it’s been a long damn time since I had to write a novel. I’m prolific. I read and write fast, but I’m looking down the barrel of years of work. And I don’t even know where to start. Do I fix the ending? Or work through chapter by chapter and fix the characters?


Or I could do like last night, and play Sims… cause damn… so much work.

Right now, all I can think to do is reread it, one more time, so I can get a firm grip on what I don’t like about it, and then… write stuff again, and this time, time not to suck.

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