Monday, March 10, 2014

The Agony of the First Draft

So, this is how I've been feeling for the past two weeks, as I've struggled to finish Book #2 in the 4-book Omega Sector Series:

I'm pretty sure I've even looked like that guy in the last few days. But now, with no intent to be sacrilegious whatsoever, I can honestly say: It. Is. Finished.

The first draft, that is.

As I write more (this is the fourth complete novel I've written) I'm beginning to understand more about my personal writing process.

My process evidently involves writing a painful first draft, sobbing the whole time that:
I'm not a "real" writer, 
Nobody understands how hard this really is,
I'm always behind schedule, 
This is the worst book that has ever been written. Ever.
I just want to watch TV!
I have no intrinsic talent,
I'm sure I have permanent spine issues from sitting at this computer for so many hours,
My editor will laugh when she reads this book and burn my contract,
Why am I doing this again? 
All of these things run through my head -- constantly -- when I am writing. Capt Awesome (my poor husband) and a few of my friends take the brunt of the crazy most of the time during my first draft period, making it safe for me to be around other humans.

I reach a stress level while writing every book where I do this laugh/cry thing. I'm overwhelmed with stress but then Capt Awesome says something funny and I just totally lose it: laughing hysterically and sobbing uncontrollably at the same time. It's quite funny and yet very disturbing at the same time.

Just doing my part to make sure my kids have something to talk to their therapists about when they get older.

But then I finish the first draft, and realize that, somehow, everything is going to be alright.

Because once I finish that first draft, I have something to work with. I no longer have a blank screen in front of me, taunting me with it's emptiness -- reflecting my own inadequacies.

Instead I have something that can be molded into, hopefully, a pretty decent story. It may take a bunch of reworking, changing, or even eliminating: but it's never as scary as the first draft.

But if I had stopped and camped out in the hysteria of my own mind during the first draft, then I'd be stuck there. I'd never realize how a first draft can so easily be turned into something actually readable. By other people, even!

But it has to be written first. First drafts are unavoidable.

 I'll try to remember all this next month when I'm back in the throes of the first draft of Book 3. But somehow, I doubt I'll remember.

1 comment:

  1. Yep. Feel the same damn way. Every. Damn. Time. Gluttons for punishment we are.