Wow. I just learned so much.
Not because I read a magical book though--rather the opposite is true. I read a book that did a lot of telling instead of showing in the first chapter, had cliched main characters without the necessary character flaws to make them real and endearing, and a plot that I could see through within the first 25 pages. It was an enlightening experience because I could see it all as plain as day. I knew what worked and what didn't. And so, I know my understanding of the craft is maturing.
I am awake now. When reading my own first attempts, I hear the same mistakes and wooden-ness. I suppose that's half the battle--being able to recognize when the magic is missing.
I know how it sounds when the words are right. Their rhythm. Their cadence. The pattern they form on the page. Though my ear can't miss, my mind can't seem to invent the symphony on its own. Forever working, reworking, and deleting the lines anew; feverishly trying to create the magic that flows from the pens of seasoned writers. I pray for the talent to orchestrate my imagination as they do-to let my characters live and breathe in vivid technicolor even when written in black and white.
What I'm wondering is: How do you get yourself to finish anything the first time? I keep stopping and starting over. I am the queen of chapters one-three. Do you just not look back and gallop toward the finish regardless of how the race began?