The Awkward First Draft
August 14, 2012
Iâ€™m uneasy (and grumpy!) because I have NO IDEA what Iâ€™m doing now.
I have nearly 50,000 words written in my book. I have 4 scenes left to write. Once those are done, Iâ€™ll be in the mysterious frontier of editing a novel.
Which is strange to say, since I used to be an editor myself. But that was nonfiction, textbook-y stuff. Editing a novel, and editing my own work, is an entirely different ordeal.
Iâ€™m proud of myself for nearly finishing my book. But, letâ€™s face it, this first draft is not awesome. It needs a lot of work, but I donâ€™t know where or how.
JacobÂ gave me a pep talk, which was helpful. Heâ€™s amazing with computers, but said that some days, his brainâ€™s not 100%, so itâ€™s difficult to solve problems. When he works through those days anyway, heâ€™s much better off when heâ€™s back at 100%, but when he takes a break instead, heâ€™s that much farther behind when heâ€™s back at 100%. The work you do when you donâ€™t feel like working matters.
So Iâ€™m going to keep going, keep working. I figure this is one of those gates that prevent the 80% of the population that wants to write a book from actually writing one. Getting started was hard. Writing 50,000 words was harder. This unknown, this anxious will-I-really-be-able-to-turn-this-into-something-readable feeling is even harder. But itâ€™ll make me that much stronger, that much of a better writer.
And I suspect even seasoned writers feel this way. Iâ€™ve been working on myÂ Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Writingâ€“and many authors seem to describe this agony, this awkward stage of writing. At least, I hope thatâ€™s what theyâ€™re talking about.
Any advice? What do you do when you have no idea what youâ€™re doing? When you get to the end of the first draft and itâ€™s not exactly sunshine and rainbows?