When the countdown is on for your first draft

by smithstandard

I’ve been lacking with blog posts due to the deadline of my first draft looming large.

Guess what? Writing a book is still really fucking hard. It’s probably more difficult right now than it has been during this entire process.

The start is always fun. You’re excited and buzzing with ideas – you have all this blank paper to pour words and feelings onto. Your characters and storylines have endless possibilities and it looks like magic in your head.

But now?

Now I’m getting closer to the end of the writing process. The story has to actually start making some sort of sense and flow together now (I’m not even panicking).

I’ve been having to do re-writes, which can be heartbreaking as an author. Beautiful paragraphs of words I’ve had to delete/save for another time (if I’m lucky) because it’s just not working with where my story is going. It’s a weird, shitty feeling. You can be so set on a certain scene, but as you write and your characters develop, you realise it no longer works.

Maybe you’ve nutted out the personality traits of your main character and now realise they would never say something you’ve written down. Maybe you’ve realised there are no subplots or that there are gaping holes you didn’t realise three months ago. Maybe your antagonist is actually nicer than you first thought and the dynamics are no longer working. Maybe you’ve been consuming other fiction novels at an alarmingly rate that you’re questioning every single thing you’ve ever written in your life ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Full disclosure: I’m writing this blog post as a way to vent/procrastinate.

I also write these and post them publicly to keep myself accountable. I know it sounds a bit wanky telling everyone you’re writing a novel. But I am.

I should also be looking at my work and attempting to tie things together, but I keep re-reading my work and thinking it’s shit. It’s normal behaviour for many people, so I don’t feel like I’m special in that regard. For those interested, when I start to get all stressed out and I’ve procrastinated enough, I re-read the below advice:

  • First drafts are for making it exist
  • Second drafts are for making it functional
  • Third drafts are for making it effective

Please keep the above in mind if I reach out and ask you to give feedback on my first draft … which needs to be completed by the end of February. #notevenpanicking

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