“The first draft of anything is s**t.” ―Ernest Hemingway
I do enjoy my Hemmingway quotes on writing. I think most writers would agree with him. As with anything related to human beings, it must be many and not all. I’ve heard writers say, “I ran it through Grammarly, it’s good to go”, so there is that view too. I remember taking classes in Literature in which the instructor went into great detail describing what the author was really saying. I recall thinking maybe the woods were just a bunch of trees, or a cigar is just a cigar and not disguised psychological inferences.
Now, I am not a great or a successful writer. My books are never going to be discussed in Lit Class. Perhaps those things are true because I just don’t have the intelligence to lace my words with those deep insights. That said, in this post, I am going to play literature teacher.
In doing so, I would like to point out something about Hemmingway’s statement. He may be talking about more than writing. I don’t believe he’s trying to hide what he means when he says “anything”. I think that’s just what he means; whether it’s writing or life. Knowing his end, maybe one more revision might have changed the story. I am not in a position to say.
Several years ago, I opted to go the one-more-revision route. I’m satisfied with how it turned out. But that particular instance aside, I have revised myself and the life I was writing quite frequently.
I’ve been an aircraft mechanic, a preacher, a retail manager, a sewage treatment plant operator, a nurse aide, and a registered nurse before landing in my current writing position—oh, and publisher too. That’s just in my adult life. Somewhat strange for a kid who, growing up, only ever wanted to be a veterinarian.
“Nobody’s perfect” should never be used as a justification balm. So, you're as good as the next guy. Have you taken a really hard look at the next guy? That’s not setting your sights very high. But then, there are those writers content with Grammarly.
That nobody’s perfect is a personal challenge to be better than what you are today. It is a call to be pleased with who you are while not being satisfied with how far you’ve come. If you can receive it, this is how God looks at us. He is pleased with our smallest efforts. Yet He will not be satisfied until we ride the high places of the earth with Him. Keep revising, and re-editing until He types The End.