“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.” Confucius.
So, I put myself on a blogging hiatus simply because I wanted to focus on finishing this draft of WIP2. At this point, I’m still far from The End, but I’m getting ever nearer.
I probably would have been closer to the finish (in fact, I was hoping this would have been a “Yes, I wrote The End!” blog post, but whatever), had I not burnt out sometime between last Monday and this past Tuesday. Sure, being mentally exhausted from the paythebills job didn’t really help me. (I needed to be a little more extrovert-y these past two weeks in my paythebills job, which already strains the limit of my introverted nature.) But, I honestly think I simply got hit with another stupid “fear of some kind of failure” panic attack.
I started to think too much about the story I’ve written so far; obsess too much about the work I’ll have to do to revise it; cringe about all the horrible writing that I’m going to be subjecting my poor crit partners to. So, that mindset just made me shut down and not have anything to write about whenever I sat down to write anything. I even started to entertain the thoughts of working on one of my many other WIP ideas rather than finishing WIP2.
But then…I decided to just plow through the actual storyline, even if that meant writing huge swaths of nothing but chapter summaries. At the very least, I was hoping to see images of scenes again, something, anything, to remind me why I loved this story. I plodded along and added a few pages here and there, but nothing amazing, and surely nothing I’d be proud to put my name on.
Sometime around 3AM this morning, I read a little blog post that Merrilee Faber shared. It’s from Janice Hardy’s blog: The Other Side of the Story. The blog talks about revisions, mainly, but what I liked most about the post were passages like this…
I knew when I wrote this draft that it was a bit “all over the place” because it was wrapping up the trilogy and I wasn’t sure how some things were going to pan out. I needed to write it and see what happened, and then needed to hear what folks said about it before I went back and revised.
I cut 10K words (four entire chapters) without batting an eye because I didn’t need them anymore. They did their job to get me mentally where I needed to be, but they hurt the story to leave them in.
I know it’s a little thing, but finding someone who had to write in weird, meandering ways just to get to the place where they mentally needed to be to get through the story was encouraging to me. (Also, that she sent it out like that to gain feedback from her critters before revising it herself.) It immediately made me want to open my WIP2 and add a few more words. (At that point it was nearly 5AM, so I didn’t add too many pages, but I added a few, and that was all that mattered to me.)
I wish I could say that I did indeed find those tricksy muses and voila, I’m hot on their heels racing toward The End. I clearly didn’t, and I’m still plodding. But, I’m here and writing out all the stuff that’s lodged in my mind, and not paying attention to that little internal editor that’s telling me that whatever I’m writing is wrong/useless/unnecessary/doesn’t align with the MC’s characterization or voice.
I’m writing, and as rambly and pointless as those words are, they are getting me closer to The End (much closer than I would be if I waited for perfection.)
20 thoughts on “Far From a Finished Draft”
I’m glad to see that you are pressing on. Sometimes I find it so hard to get motivated because my life has become so hectic. Best wishes!
I meander quite a bit too, and at times it can feel almost overwhelming as you sift through it trying to find the story. But I know you’ll get there. You’ve got a brilliant story. I hope you find the time and just the right mental place to finish it. Just remember it doesn’t have to go smoothly for the story to turn out beautiful. The best journeys are the ones with the detours. Or something. *hugs*
“Just remember it doesn’t have to go smoothly for the story to turn out beautiful.”
This is another thing I need tattooed onto my hand, or engraved on my laptop. The one main motivating factor for me to finish is just so I can realign the story, and keep working it until it shines. I thought I could do it all at the same time, but I’m definitely a “don’t look back/don’t stop now” kind of first drafter.
Dear, no one, I mean NO ONE, meanders more than me. Whether that’s good or bad, i don’t know, but my process is mine and I have to work within it. I’m so glad you are moving forward. I know you will get there and it will be awesome! xoxo
You’re always a pile of encouragement Michele! Thank you! (I *sort of* wish that my brain was just a tad more linear…but I guess the sooner I accept it and work with it, the happier I will be!)
It can be so hard to force yourself to write when you think it’s not good enough or aren’t sure where you’re going, but the most important thing is just to get the words down. You can edit and revise later. I constantly have to tell myself that. I get so hung up on adverbs and dialogue and grammar — all stuff that doesn’t matter in the first draft!
Happy writing! 🙂
Oh, accountibilibuddy, that’s EXACTLY how I felt. Forcing myself to write especially in the face of “omgthisfreakingsucks” was getting to be borderline torture. Like, cruel and unusual punishment territory.
Bit by bit, I’m shaking the feeling off. I resorted to scribbling in my moleskine yesterday, and that helped. Made it seem more private and journal-entry-esque so I didn’t have the same internal alarms blaring at me.
This comment was swimming in my SPAM filter right next to another spam telling me how I can grow a few more inches. 😀
Plodding is better that not plodding! Like that quote about working out says: “no matter how slow you go you’re still running faster than everyone on the couch” 🙂
Ah, thank you Rebecca! I used to tell myself that all the time when I first started running! I’ll remember that from here on out (though, you may need to remind me from time to time) 😉
I can remind you! *gets out the whip* 😉
I SO understand this! It’s hard to move forward when your internal editor keeps pointing out all the bad stuff. I’m still in the first third of my draft and those feelings already come creeping in and paralyze me. It really is hard, but you can do it!! You’ll get to the end, meandering and all. Don’t worry about “failing”…just write your story 🙂
Thank you Amanda! YOU just write your story too! I look forward to your “I finished this draft!” post 😉
Haha, ughh. I can’t wait, either!
Sometimes you need to random rambling words to spark something during the editing to focus a plot point or shape a character. It might not stay in the final draft but it could be the sentence that inspires you. That’s what I think during a first draft. It might lead somewhere. It might not 🙂
Thank you, Pete! It’s hard to remember that sometimes I need to inspire myself when I’m trudging along with no muse to guide me.
Hope you’re journey to The End goes smoothly from here on in, whether it’s meandering, or straight to the point. You have to write your way 🙂
“You have to write your way.”
I need that tattooed to my hand…or at least, written on a shirt. 😀
Well done, Liza! Good luck on racing to that finish line 😀
Thank you, Merrilee, for the encouragement, and for sharing that blog! 😀