Writing a book can be a lot of work. I’ve talked before about how even a complete amateur can get through a first draft in as little as three months with just a couple hours of work per day, but chances are you were thinking, plotting, planning, and obsessing over that manuscript for months, and probably years, before you ever wrote down the first chapter. That’s a lot of investment, and it’s not uncommon for a first book to take years to write when you’re just starting out (or are named George R. R. Martin, but that’s another story).

When you put that much of your heart and soul into a project, tearing it all down to do it again is daunting. “Will it actually improve?” “Is this the best I can do?” “Why redo it from scratch when the story is complete?” “Can’t I just, y’know, edit it a bit?” “What if I spend more time doing it right the first time?” “If it needs rewriting, doesn’t that mean it sucks and I’m a terrible writer?”

The answer to those questions, in order, are: yes; no; because it’s not actually from scratch; no author is that perfect; then you’re actually wasting time and effort; and stop telling yourself that.

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