#writingcraft: Beyond the Dread

Way back in 2015 [okay, it wasn’t that long ago], when I began to write my first novel’s first draft [my only novel thus far], I was engulfed in the delusion of thinking the first draft is the hardest of the entire writing process. How could I have been so daft?

I know the answer to that. I was reading blog posts written by writers, assuming what I was gathering was pure fact and applied to everyone when, in fact, the words were educated opinions. They were formed by people who found what they had learned to be true and helpful for them. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are true or helpful for me.

I got that first draft done in eight months. I look on it as an infection I need to get rid of by letting it fester and bleed. The following drafts didn’t happen until just recently because I thought I had lost my novel for good within the zeros and ones of my computer. When I finally found the auto-backups and began to read what I had written, I was induced with nonsensible fear of making it worse than it already was. This dread I felt haunted me to the point where I would freeze while staring at the manuscript before me on the screen.

It’s taken me over three months to brave the task of the rewrite this story needs. Before I could even attempt it, I felt I should have “tools” so I wouldn’t be as likely to botch it up. What I mean by “tools” is something like a roadmap or outlines I could follow.

I went looking for worksheets that would help me keep on track as I reworked each scene. Some I found were too nitpicky for me. Others were too general. I remembered using worksheets from Creative Writing Now, so I went back to the site to see if one or more of their worksheets were what I needed. To my dismay, the site didn’t have any of the worksheets any more, at least not any I could find. Maybe I would have to sign up for one of the courses now, which I don’t need and, therefore, won’t do.

While going through some old files in my cloud, I found the worksheets that used to be available. It was in the pdf format, which I couldn’t work with [my budget doesn’t include paying to use Adobe] so I copied it to Word.

I’m slowly working on the rewrite now. I’m surprised by the difference in my mood because of this worksheet. The confidence is there now. How can something like this change things so much?


Anyway, the dread is behind me — at least for the time being. 🙂

Has a writing “tool” ever affected you this way? Do you feel the dread when you get to your second draft?

“Something did happen to me somewhere that robbed me of confidence and courage and left me with a fear of discovery and change and a positive dread of everything unknown that may occur.”
Joseph Heller, Something Happened


9 thoughts on “#writingcraft: Beyond the Dread

  1. I hated worksheets and outlines in school and avoided them or faked them when they were required. Filling in someone else’s idea of appropriate spaces doesn’t work for me and the confinement strangles my creativity. I write slowly, much more slowly than you do. I look forward to rewriting because it improves my first draft. But I still have no confidence that my writing is any good at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shari, I don’t like outlines either but with my memory problems, I have found they come in handy while I’m writing the manuscript. With the outline just under the page where the words on dripping ever so slowly, I know if my memory stumbles, the hint is just a click away.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got the Adobe Reader. I downloaded the scene outline a couple of years ago. I guess I could have just written comments on the sheet but I wanted to make sure I could have my notes within the same format as the worksheet so I copied and pasted the thing into Word. Word does have numerous advantages. I wonder if a developer could take different parts of it to make a program that works more efficiently for writers. Maybe I should talk to my son-in-law. [He’s a developer.]


  2. When I complete my first draft, I feel great, its later when I go back to read what I have written and think, ‘well, that was rubbish.’ I recently purchased Scrivener, and it has made me write differently from using Word. Not sure of the outcome, but I am hoping it will improve my skills.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m using the poor man’s version of Scrivener. I like it better than a word processing program because I can get to profiles, other scenes, and other chapters without ruining my organization. You will probably find this true with Scrivener too.

      Liked by 1 person

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