Friday, 14 May 2010

How Was It For You?

First drafts. People say these are the hardest.

You have an idea, think of a character (perhaps even a plot) and sit at your computer/pad of paper/typing device and write.

Easy right?

Hmmm. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. But getting that first draft down is essential for the process.

When I started my MS I typed out those tentative first paragraphs with the thrill of excitement. Then I panicked. I wanted the perfect beginning. I wanted an amazing first line etc. If I had listened to my fear I would have given up then and there. Until my creative writing tutor said something that has stuck with me.

"If you want to write, write."

I realised it didn't matter about how it sounded, as long as I got it down. So I wrote. And I didn't stop.

My first draft was out there in the world and I wasn't sick of the thing once I'd written that draft. I wanted (and still do) to make it better, breathe more life into it, and share it with others. Make it stronger.

The hunger to create burns deep within each of us. A fire which stokes itself for a few hours each day and pushes us to keep going.

It's also the beta readers, crit partners and the other amazing writers who share the passion, the hopes and the fears. Your strength, determination and hope inspires me everyday to keep going.
Humans have amazing drive and determination. We keep going, even if it feels hopeless. Because it never really is hopeless if you believe in it.

What did Winston Churchill say? "Never give up. Never surrender."

It has been a long journey from that first draft. I have since cut, rewrote and edited my book so it doesn't even begin at the point where I typed those first words.

But that's okay. Because it feels good.

Okay, sometimes it feels gut-wrenching and terrifying when we start to pull the MS apart. But we shape it, adapt it, make it sparkle and then glue it back together again.

And occasionally, when the doubts creep in, and the little voice says that I can't, the brave little toaster within me knows I can.

And it feels good.

Happy Friday everyone. :)


Carole Anne Carr said...

I battle with those thoughts too!

MissV said...

the first draft is a lump of clay. It's the edits, revisions, additions, deletions, critiques, love and devotion that turn that lump into something beautiful.

I think everyone can identify with that "ack" moment.

Jaydee Morgan said...

The first draft is the hardest for me. I actually like dissecting it and fitting it all back together. You're right though, it doesn't matter which is hard, the point is to keep going and not quit :)

Jen said...

Oh I loved that you talked about the brave little toaster! That was quite the inspiration for sure!

I loved the feeling of writing my first MS it felt great and even though I was stuck at times I pulled through and the end result made me very very happy!

Mayowa said...

It was the most frustrating, brutal, magical and wonderful process. I definitely had to learn to just write and not agonize over every little thing.

Thanks for the post

Angela said...

The first draft was the most fun for me. It just flowed out, and I enjoyed following what happened to my characters as I wrote. It was what came after the first draft--the edits--that I hated, and still hate. My story also doesn't begin anywhere near the way it did with my first draft, and I found it painful to make the changes. I broke about every rule there is with the first draft, but perhaps that is why it was so easy (and fast) for me to write. Now that I've learned so much about writing something geared toward publishing, I think first drafts will be harder now.

Elana Johnson said...

This is the most inspirational post I've read today. Thanks!

Creepy Query Girl said...

I can totally relate to this. It took me a year to finally do a 'real' rewrite and cut of my ms. It's still a work in progress, even though I know it's a lot better now that it was a year ago. It's true that the very first lines of the very first draft were hard for me and I too ended up cutting the entire section off and starting at a completely different place in the story!

Danyelle said...

Happy Friday! I love the first draft the most. It's revisions that are draining to me. :)

Matthew Rush said...

Beautifully said. Thanks Lindsay.

Palindrome said...

Beautifully put!! It's always nice to read something inspirational on a bright and sunny day!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This is such a great post. All of your posts were fantastic this week, Lindsay - really!! I think we all need to have a little of the Brave Little Toaster inside us.

Have a great weekend! :-)

Lydia Kang said...

Oh it's so hard to say good bye to those first words, but it's so worth it!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Carole. This is why I love blogging, never alone in the feelings. :) Hugs too.

MissV. I love that idea - the MS is a piece of clay. :)

Jaydee. Great insights, and remember, don't quit. :)
Jen. I agree, the euphoria is amazing...then the revisions start and it's hard. Hopefully the same feeling returns at the end of each stage too. :)

Mayowa. I think learning from writing is a realy important skill. I think we grow, and develop, as a writer each time we go through revisions etc.

Angela. Oh so true, the pain of changes is hard. I think sometimes it flows really well for the first draft. Lets see how we go with another MS. :)

Elana. *blush.* Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

CQG. I'm with you. Sometimes we have to just see it through and revise slowly, even if we know it's not what we started with. It's better. :)

Danyelle. I'm with you. Revisions are very draining.

Matthew. Aww, glad you liked it. :)

Palindrome. Glad you enjoyed the inspiration.:)

Shannon. Aww thanks *blush.*
Here is to the brave little toster in all of us. :)

Lydia. I agree. It does feel good once it's on paper.:)

AKAmamma said...

I still have problems at times of letting go and just writing. I always want my writing to be technically perfect. My writing instructor has told me that I don't give free rein to my inner madman. For some people, it's harder than it looks.

Talli Roland said...

My first drafts are complete crap and I enjoy writing them because I can just spew it out.

Really enjoyed your post! Hope you're having a great weekend.


I think they become easy if we decide to not worry AT ALL about quality. I think it's when we get all critical and precious that they get tricky. We should be more blue collar about our work: sit down, do the work, clock in, clock out. Great post!