They just are. And the crappiness of this first draft is driving me crazy. A part of me feels deep despair at how clunky and awful some of it is and another can’t wait to be done writing so I can revise, edit, fill-in, fill out, and polish the crap out of it. (Literally.)
I didn’t feel this way when I wrote Intangible. I didn’t really worry about how crappy the first draft was or even notice. I mean, I KNEW it needed work. I KNEW it was rough. And it went through an immense metamorphosis from first draft to final published book.
And perhaps that is what’s tripping me up now. Coming from polished and practically perfect to first draft is jarring. It’s playing with my confidence that I can actually do it again—write another good book.
Perhaps this is just a part of ANY artistic process. I’ve certainly felt this way with each drawing I’ve ever done. (I draw pencil portraits. Oh, look. There are two of mine below.) I’ll finish one, happy with the result, and when I start the next I’ll worry that maybe I won’t be able to do it again. If I can’t get the ear to look right or the eyes or the hair…maybe I won’t be able to capture the person this time. I ALWAYS have that fear. With every drawing. And I’ve never not been able to pull one off. (Thankfully.)
So maybe writing is exactly like that. With each book I’m going to feel like maybe I can’t do it. Maybe it won’t turn out as wonderful or as interesting or as surprising as the last. Or I’ll worry that I’m going to let readers down with the choices I make.
And maybe what I need to do is stop worrying and just do it. Just write. Get through the crappy first draft and then craft it into something beautiful. Spend the time filling it out just like I do a portrait. And making those tiny adjustments near the end that make all the difference in a drawing—they work the same way in a book. Every little piece, every shadow, every glint of light makes up the beauty of the whole.
Just like that first outline of the drawing, before any shading or shaping has taken place, a first draft is the necessary first (ugly) step. Getting that structure in place allows me to fill in all the details and round out the drawing. Or the story. That’s what I’m doing right now with this first draft—I’m building the structure.
I’ve just got to keep reminding myself of that. :-)
Have a great day, everyone!