Before I give my take on first drafts, I want to share a post I just read that was AWESOME! Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction always gives fantastic advice, and today's was no exception. She nailed every single thing that I've been feeling about my first draft since starting this whole wonderful, crazy process of writing. So, please, check it out!
Now, I've been working on my story for a little over a month and a half now, but I started actually thinking about the story and getting to know the characters back during the summer. This phase, the brainstorming, lasted for about two months. I took my time making notes, creating character sketches, looking up information about the setting of the story, and reading articles and books with tons of helpful advice about writing your first book. I did this until I had a notebook filled with notes, but no story, so mid September found me sitting before my laptop with a blank word document. I was excited, but scared at the same time. I was ready to create my baby, but in the back of my mind was that nagging doubt: You've never done this before, it will SUCK! I ignored it and happily began typing away. For about three weeks everything was great, the word count was increasing steadily, then the doubt came back with a vengeance. This is no good, nobody will ever like this, why are you wasting your time? I told the little voice (you know, evil inner editor) to shut up and continued. I even started blogging about that time. But the more I worked on the story, the louder the voice shouted. IT SUCKS! STOP NOW! THIS WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!
I don't know about you, but this is a serious problem for me. I am one of those people who loves to have everything perfect, and the thought of creating something that is, well, just bad makes me feel ill. I was one of those annoying people in school who was never happy with B's, I only wanted A's, so this is really hard for me.
So, my word count is creeping up little by little, but nothing like it was in the beginning. I'm on page 56, and believe me, I'm very proud to have written that much, but I wish I could just accept that this draft is going to suck. That's why I linked Natalie's post. It is a reminder that I am not alone. I'm not the first person to write a first draft and I certainly won't be the last. I have got to give myself permission to write it, no matter how bad it is, and use the revision stage to satisfy my tendencies to make things perfect. I've even got to accept that it won't be perfect when I edit it, but that's O.K.
I hope that all of you getting ready for NaNo takes this to heart. I wish I was joining you, but I'm still working on this baby. I'm not going to give up on it, I'm going to keep plugging along, and I will finish it. Wouldn't it be great if I finish with everyone at the end of November! That will be a reason to celebrate!
So, how do you feel about your first drafts? Do they drive you insane? Do you have to constantly battle the evil editor? Or are you one of the fortunate ones who just plows on through without ever listening to it?