It began life as a spot.
See spot run.
Spot became a miniature poodle.
Then it became a full sized poodle.
And then the poodle was sort of Great Dane sized and most of the radiator emptied onto the carport floor. As a dogged sort of fellow I tracked it down to a failure of the water-pump seal (seals are referred to as ‘water-dogs’ in some languages.)
Now I am to automobile mechanical repair what most of us are to writing: not actually naturally gifted. But all our money is going toward a home so… well… in need, there is the internet, courage, and determination. Oh and a huge amount of unfounded optimism and delusion. Much of this is mirrored by my writing efforts. If there’s one thing I have learned it’s there is no such thing as easy for me, in this trade. Oddly that was the case with the water-pump on the Mazda ute. It appears the designers had a vicious hate for DIY mechanics, as the water-pump is behind the timing belt and can only be liberated via extreme faith, vast effort, and negotiating many traps for the unwary, and lots of tedious but methodical repetitive stuff – a bolt that requires a ring spanner and will only do one 1/8 th of a turn.
Very like being a writer, where, jokes aside, obstacles were placed in the way of writers by publishers, and retailers… to weed out the weak, as it were. Just as some bolts are imperial sizes and others metric and there are a precise sequence of actions to be followed well, the same is true of writing submissions…
But you can do all of this. You can succeed even in finding the lost spring equivalent in your writing.
What you can’t do – and what brought me to write this in the first place is assume you’ll get right, first time. I read a horrified comment on a writer’s forum – someone lamenting how some stupid author (er, probably me) had revised his work seven times before publication.
I took the water-pump out. Replaced it. Put it all together again and the seal leaked. So applying what I’d learned I did it again. And then it only leaked a drop every 12 seconds. So I did it again, with added silastic. It stopped leaking altogether. I took it for a test drive, and it survived and did not leak. I thought I’d won. But when I tried to start it again… it popped the seal out. I figure it’s not quite the right seal for this model, so my friend Pete has provided me with an entire seal colony, and tomorrow I will do it again. I’m not holding my breath for success.
And this, folks is the reality of writing. You may get lucky the first try, but mostly it’s ty and try and try again, learn, adapt… and sometimes give up on a project.
I’m 20 + published books in to this. I have a few in my trunk too. And I still revise, repeat. And I still make mistakes and books need more work. Every book sees multiple edits. Usually round 7 – but sometimes more. I know I still miss things. Maybe you are indeed the rare person who not only thinks their work needs no revision, but whose work actually doesn’t. But that’s an exception. Mostly – if you can’t do this – well your story probably will leak, and readers will definitely leak away.
If you can’t bear revising, editing, start-from-scratch because it needs it… or believe it goes away after a few books (it doesn’t, you just get better at it, learn that if you put artery forceps on that spring type of ‘cheat’) then seriously I suggest you try a different career. I dunno what. Probably not motor-mechanics though.