Books Aren't Written?

Writing Myths, Part I

You know those people who talk about writing, who say that we don’t write books, we rewrite books? I’m sure you’ve seen them. They’re everywhere. They go around chanting their mantra that it’s better to rewrite than to write, but they’re forgetting something:

If we don’t first write, then how is it possible to rewrite?

This is the biggest problem with the idea that it’s the rewriting that really makes a story. If we don’t ever start the story, if we don’t ever get the ideas out on paper and have something to sort through and edit, then it would never be possible for us to rewrite. We would just sit in an endless cycle of nothingness, thinking we have to rewrite the whole thing before we can even get it down, that we have to edit as we’re going and make sure that everything comes out perfectly, to cut out the idea of spending so much time on any given story, because we live in a world where we want to get things done now.

But there’s a problem with that thinking, too.

Writing isn’t about editing or rewriting, it’s not about perfection or about making sure that everything is exactly as we want it to be, beautiful and perfect so every agent and editor in the world will want to work with us. More than anything else, writing is for us. It’s for the writers, to get it out of our heads and let us think clearly again.

Writing isn’t about perfect wording or beautiful prose, it’s not about making everything absolutely perfect—it’s about writing a story that’s what we needed to hear, a story that we want to read but have never found anywhere else, about developing answers out of a mass of confusion. That’s what we’re striving for when we write, and that’s what RAD Writing is looking for in our writers. We don’t want perfect—who would? Perfect is boring. We want raw, real, authentic writers who know what they want and go for it, whether that means this is your first draft or your fifteenth.

If that’s you, then what are you waiting for?

Write it, and do the rewriting later, if it needs it. And we’re not saying it will.


Senior Editor