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