I spent around two years writing Margot Baker Knows Best, during which time I wrote eleven drafts before finally sending it to my agent. I am now writing the first draft of a new novel, The Quiet Room (working title), and I’m currently on 45,000 words.
The issue with a first draft is it’s always sh*t, with plot holes gaping at me, parts lacking in energy to move the story along, not quite hearing the characters’ individual voices, and so on. I have a constant negative voice in my head telling me that what I’m writing is rubbish and that no one will want to read it anyway. On the notice board above my next, I have the comic strip (pictured above the wrong way around, but my IT skills don’t go as far as changing it to landscape) by Tom Gauld from August 2018 in The Guardian, which really says it all about my writing day.
Yes, the story is pants, and I’m writing words which will be deleted in the next draft. Yes, I must do all of my chores before sitting down to write. Yes, I can easily get sucked into social media, especially Twitter (but for how much longer?), and my new favourite Instagram (do join me via the Instagram button above, if you want to see photos of Alfie, our rescue cat and photos of all the books I buy and read.) And yes, I used to be a great fan of napping in the afternoon, but I seem to have overcome this issue most days now, thankfully.
The mantra I need to repeat to myself is, yes, the first draft is sh*t, but that’s okay – the story will develop, as will the characters, and I can rectify all the worrying issues in subsequent drafts (although hopefully not the eleven as I needed to do with Margot).
So, for now, I must sit at my desk (which is messy today, so I’ll tidy it after posting this on my website) or in my local indie café, keep the faith and get those words down, especially as I prefer editing to writing the first draft.
Does this chime with you, or have you mastered the art of muting the negative voice in your head? Let me know, and I’ll see if it can work for me!
Happy Word Flow One & All
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