Note to Self #22: Writing the Pesky First Draft

Once again, as is the case every single time I write a new book, I need a reminder that the first draft is going to stink so dreadfully that I should consider buying a military grade oxygen mask in order to breathe properly. How do I keep pushing forward? By asking myself one simple question: How can I fail when all I have to do is reach The End? That’s right, the words can be atrocious, the plot holey, the dialogue stilted, but can I actually finish the story?

And, if you need more motivation, consider this: Once you do finish, every single time you revise that puppy, you’re going to feel better and better until you might just burst with enthusiasm because you love writing that much!       

Shove those negative feelings aside, kick your frustration to the curb, and embrace the fact that your writing skills are nearly absent in that first iteration. They’ll slowly return as the story unfolds; as your shy confidence tiptoes by and as you realize somewhere along the revisions that you’ve done this before, and you’ll do it again. And if this is your first book, just know that somehow, it will all come together.

Don’t berate yourself for being a pantser. All that means is that once you’ve spit the story out, you just need to go back, a few times (maybe a whole lot more than a few), to patch up the holes and erase the excess clues and characters. It’ll make your story stronger. And if you’re a plotter, so what if you get a little bored along the way? No worries. An unexpected twist or turn may pop up.

And if none of the above work to lift you out of the first draft doldrums, go back and read a portion of your manuscript that you worked particularly hard on. When I do that, I can’t help but think, who wrote this? It’s actually not too bad.


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1 year ago

Where do you get your book ideas? Even if your drafts aren’t to your liking, the final product is so entertaining! I’ve read all your books and love them!

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