a writer’s toolbox

November 29, 2017

a hand with this

Ego is a critical part of a writer’s toolbox. Without ego, you’d succumb to the fear that the eighty-to-one-hundred thousand words you’re preparing to dump on the world may not measurably improve it. This will only seem ridiculous if you have a tremendous ego, the kind that can look upon a work-in-progress crammed with of plot holes, opaque character motivations, and spelling errors that have dogged you since third grade, and think: Mmm…not bad.

What works for me is telling myself that all writers’ first drafts are bad. I can’t tell for sure because other writers don’t show me their first drafts—probably because they’re so bad. You see? So what I hawk out onto the screen in draft one is pretty good, relatively speaking.

Remember the last time you read a novel that was so awful, just getting to the end was tortuous? Someone managed to write that. They typed out every single word. And they did it as a first draft, when it would have been worse. Thanks to ego.

Max Barry
How to write a great science fiction novel