I’ve never been much for editing, so reading over old work always feels like a chore: I fidget, I procrastinate, I come up with a million e...

Thoughtful Thursdays: Fun Projects and First Drafts: Why I Always Have One Going

I’ve never been much for editing, so reading over old work always feels like a chore: I fidget, I procrastinate, I come up with a million excuses why I dont have to do this right now, and then I get mad at myself when the project isn’t finished. I guess I just wish that when I typed “The End,” my work really was at its end.

On the other hand, churning out the first draft is (most of the time) easy. I can’t wait to write and, believe it or not, I don’t get Writer’s Block much  at least not during the first draft. I’m a pantser, so when I’m excited about a story, I just go with the flow. I get to discover the book – the plot twists, the character developments, the oh-my-gosh-I-did-not-see-that-coming moments the same as the reader does. And that thought is exhilarating.

Since 2011, I’ve had at least one first draft or fun project going nonstop; I was constantly discovering new stories, constantly surprising myself, constantly having fun. It wasnt all sunshine and roses, but compared to how I feel about editing, it was pretty darn great.

But a couple months ago, I finished all my first drafts, and I found myself stuck. I had all this rewriting to do, and not a lick of motivation to do it. I wanted to go on pretending that the end honestly was the end and not a single thing was wrong with my stories. Writing? Wonderful. Settings? Superb. Characters? Crazy-awesome. Plot and pacing? Pristine.

My book: the Picture of Perfection.
But it just wasn’t true. And as I read over my drafts and found numerous problems in all of the above, I started feeling depressed. I felt like I couldn’t do it. Like everything I wrote was a heapin’, stinkin load of crap, no matter what I tried. I dragged, had to force myself to write everyday, and even though I began to almost hate the thought of it, I couldn’t not write. Because if I didn’t, I’d never be finished. And I’d be stuck in this rut forever.

Then I started working on the first draft of another story and, not only did that come easier, all my other writing did too. I hate to sound cliche, but after starting that draft, everything in my writing world felt brighter, easier. I’m not gonna say I all of the sudden enjoyed editing, or that it wasn’t hard anymore (because that would be a lie). However, it did come easier after that point, and I didn’t dread my writing time nearly as much.

So now I try to have a fun project or first draft going almost constantly. And because I like to analyze things, I got to thinking about it, and came up with three main reasons why this method of writing works for me.

1. First drafts and fun projects keep my creativity flowing. When I’m working on a first draft or a fun project, anything is possible. The only limit is my creativity, and I let that run about as wild as it will. Anything can happen and that thought is so amazing, so empowering, that I feel downright unstoppable.

Like these guys.
2. It keeps my sense of wonder intact. This point goes hand-in-hand with the one above. Because, when I’m working on a first draft or a fun project, I’m always looking for ideas. I’m always daydreaming, and when that lightbulb moment comes and I’m bouncing up and down in my chair squealing, “Oooh oooh! I know what’s gonna happen next!” I find myself in awe of the human brain and, not to sound too prideful but, what I’ve accomplished. I fall in love with the potential my story has. I don’t have to see the flaws, not yet anyway, so for that moment everything is awesome.

See what I did there?
And 3. It reminds me of when writing was just fun. I’ve been writing for nearly eleven years now (off and on), and when I was younger, I only ever wrote for fun. I just picked up a pencil and paper or got to typing on my laptop when I felt like it. Now that I’ve made writing my career, though, it’s not always fun. Some days, it’s absolutely awful, like a job with no vacation days, no benefits, and no pay. Which is pretty darn sucky.

But, while I’m working on that first draft or fun project, when “Everything is awesome!” When characters don’t have to crazy-awesome, so long as I love them anyway. When plot and pacing don’t have to be pristine, settings don’t have to be superb, and it’s okay that my writing is about a light-year from wonderful, then I can remember why I decided to spend my life doing this. Why Im a writer.

Because I am powerful when I’m writing. I can make anything, do anything, be anything. When I’m writing well (or at least I think I am), I’m not just sitting in a chair, tapping at a keyboard. I am doing something; I am creating worlds and people and life that I hope someone else will enjoy one day. I am the eccentric guide on a madly magnificent tour into a world of my own making. And I’m adoring every second.

In the moment that I let myself loose in an insane, but amazing bout of free-writing, I know that anything is possible and everything is awesome.


No, seriously, what’s your superpower? What’s your gift, your talent, your thing that makes you feel like anything is possible and everything is awesome?


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2 comments:

  1. That's a neat method. ^ ^ I've been rewriting so long I've forgotten what a first draft feels like ... I think after I finish the next rewrite I'm going to finally do another first draft. XD I enjoy rewriting because I feel like it's getting better as I go. ^ ^

    Stori Tori's Blog

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    Replies
    1. Cool! I guess that is one of the good things about rewriting/editing: once I do get over the hump, I know my story will improve.

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