I was thinking more about my first-draft doldrums last night and came to this epiphany. The first draft is like trying to write about someplace you’ve never been. It’s necessary because in doing so you learn about the thing you’re creating, but it can be painful at the same time because you’re kind of thrashing around in the dark trying to figure out where you’re going. With the subsequent drafts, at least you already have a sense of the geography and have done most of the heavy lifting beforehand.
I discovered this because shortly after writing about how dissatisfied I was with my latest effort, my subconscious mind worked out some of the kinks and revealed to me a few ways to make the chapter work better. Funny how that works out. No wonder I’ve always had so much trouble in the past—I’ve put too much effort into getting every word in the first draft “just right” and didn’t give myself the freedom to make mistakes.
Now I’m making all kinds of creative mistakes left and right! Hopefully that turns out to be a good thing.
I’m about two solid days of writing away from reaching my 20,000-word goal for the end of the month. Fingers crossed. Sadly, my first draft feels like it’s about 50 percent dreck and 50 percent crap. (Okay, maybe one percent good. Maybe.) For some reason, this is bothering me more than usual today. I don’t like the way the chapter I’m working on right now is turning out. But, oh well. It’s just a skeleton of a story right now, and the flesh and blood will come later. Or so I keep telling myself.
It’s not much, but that’s how many words I managed to write in Coven Hill today. Back on the wagon. Write a little every day, even if it’s just a sentence or two. That’s the goal.