Writing–First Draft Love/Hate

I have such a love/hate relationship with writing a first draft.

The love comes from the excitement I get from finally getting this idea that’s been drifting around in my head for days/weeks/months down on paper. Breathing life into my characters, letting the story unfold, putting in that little twist or three, filling in the details, giving myself something substantial to work with in revisions that makes the first draft worthwhile for me and makes up for the hate part.

Oh, and there’s so much I hate about writing the first draft.

Rarely does it ever come out right the first time. It’s not supposed to, I know that. That’s the point of a first draft. But, it frustrates me to no end when I can’t get what’s in my head onto the page, when the words I put on the paper don’t do my idea justice. The characters are two-dimensional, the mood isn’t right, the beginning is flat, the ending is awkward, and in my longer works there’s ALWAYS too much telling and not enough showing. The perfectionist in me hates it when I can’t get it rigth the first time. Of course, I know that’s what revisions are for and I’m one hell of a revisor. I actually like revising my first draft more than writing it most of the time. I love making something great out of something lackluster, and in some cases absolutely craptacular.

(Wait, weren’t we talking about hate? Damn love sneaking in there.)

The flip-side of this particular hate is that on the rare occurances that my first draft does go well and does adhere to my vision pretty closely, it worries me. It makes me think that I’m missing something, that I’m overlooking some glaring flaw that won’t be found until the story is rejected three or four times and then I finally see it and end up absolutely ashamed that I sent it out looking like that. Let the agony of self-doubt begin as I stare at that first draft wondering why more doesn’t demand to be rewritten.

First drafts, at least for me, are truly writer’s hell. I’ve yet to find a way to skip over that part and get right down to the revising. And if it wasn’t for the little bits of writing a first draft that I love, I’d be really bitter about that.

Stories By the Numbers

Stories Out: 2
Stories Ready: 3

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