Home » Writing » The First Draft- It’s a love/hate thing.

The First Draft- It’s a love/hate thing.

One of my major flaws as a writer (and as a person) is my need to get everything perfect first time around.

You see how this could be a problem when it comes to writing? πŸ˜€ Considering the amount of drafts we have to do before we get something we’re pleased enough with to publish?

Writing a first draft can, at times, hurt me.

Staring at this horrible screen of text that isn’t perfect, that isn’t lovely, that sometimes doesn’t even make sense; it doesn’t do me any good!

But I have gotten better over this year since writing has become career. The first draft has to be written, no matter how I do it, it is the foundation of my book. If I don’t write, then I’m not doing my job! πŸ˜€

The way I like to look at a first draft is that it is the skeleton. It is the bones of my manuscript.

The second draft is the muscles.

The third is the skin.

And from then on extra drafts and changes are the clothing, jewelry, and make up that allow my manuscript to sparkle.

Still, it’s hard. Nowadays I write my first draft without looking back at it. I just write it and keep on going. I use simple, not very active words, such as β€˜pushed’, β€˜pulled’ β€˜looked’, etc, I even have sections where I’ve written, ‘She’s angry- describe’. I just write whatever to get that first draft down, with notes to remind me when I go back to edit.

I can then go back and change those words, make it active. make it flow. I can change the details, add description where I have left it out, etc.

But it is a struggle! When I think my writing is terrible, it puts a damper on my mood (which my poor family and friends have to deal with, sorry to them!), and I go into a fit of, β€˜I suck as a writer!’ πŸ˜€

But by the end, when all the layers are added, I come out of that mood having produced something I can be really proud of. A story that has been worth all the moods and hard work πŸ™‚

What I’m trying to say is- Just write it. Don’t worry about language, or word use, or adverbs, or anything like that in a first draft. Just do whatever it takes to get that main bulk down.

It’s after the first draft that the real work begins πŸ˜‰

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2793 (Total word count: 23,503).

Books read: 2/4.

Mid-October Book Review: We won’t talk about the lack of that…

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36 thoughts on “The First Draft- It’s a love/hate thing.

  1. I have to admit that I cringe when someone compares writing to the human body. Not because it’s wrong, but because it caused me to give up writing for a summer in high school. My dad read a book with that analogy and tried to use it when critiquing my first book (not Legends of Windemere). He went on about how I had bones, but no muscles, organs, and skin. It was explained in such a way that I spent the summer not touching my writing and focusing on trying to figure out what he was talking about. Gave up when I thought he simply wanted me to go into biology or some kind of science like my sister.

  2. October book review: psst… Do a novella. /whistles innocently. πŸ™‚

    As for first drafts, they are a fun creative process. I’m currently a little stuck. My MC has had a serious melt down / hissy fit and now I need to get her butt in gear. At any rate, they are first drafts for a reason. They are supposed to need a ton of work!

    • Yeah, the October review is definitely taking a backseat! πŸ˜€

      First drafts are hard and intensive, but worth it in the end! Hope you manage to get your character going, getting stuck can be one of the worst things about writing!

      Thank you so much for commenting πŸ™‚

  3. I tend to Just Write. I let the Inspiration flow and dont get in the way. Then, later, I can go back over it and correct misspellings and grammar, which is ultimately, just housecleaning. πŸ˜‰ Great Post!

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more Mishka! As you know I’ve been having similar feelings to you about my first draft. It’s far from perfect and the plot has kind of run away from me to the point where the two main protagonists are kind of together already – way before I wanted them to be!

    But as you and my other fellow writers were saying, it’s important to get the first draft written. THEN I can go back over it and start to improve on it. I’ve tried the other option before. I’m not doing that again! πŸ™‚

    BTW I agree with Nicholas – lovely analogy. πŸ™‚

    • I think it really is important to go with the flow during the first draft, it might take you somewhere unexpected and that could lead to something very exciting! πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much for commenting πŸ™‚

  5. Great advice, Mishka. We’ve all looked back at a first draft and cringed at the number of plot holes. Accepting the fact it is the bones of the story is a great way to move forward and flesh it out πŸ™‚

    • It still puts me in a mood sometimes to read over my first draft, but that mood definitely lightens after going through the drafts a few more times and fixing it up! πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much for commenting πŸ™‚

  6. I have MANY first drafts written that, when I go back and read through them, I absolutely abhor, so I understand completely! It’s part of the reason I love NaNoWriMo so much actually. Having that kind of pressure to write helps me get into the mindset of ignoring the “crap” writing and just get the idea down.

  7. I like how you described your editing process, how the first draft is really the skeleton and then the following drafts are muscles, skin, etc., that eventually create a solid story. I know what you mean about writing the first draft–I usually write as much as the major points as I can and then through 1,2,3 revisions, I fill in the gaps or polish things up πŸ™‚

  8. I often use brackets to say [insert description of building here] or such. It’s the consistency stuff that gets me. Was it the right cheek or the left cheek that he had the brand on?

    But at least you’re doing your job and gettin’ it done. πŸ™‚

    • I often use notations to remind myself of things when I go back edit too πŸ˜€ But yeah, it’s just about getting it down, no matter how you do it!

      Thank you so much for commenting πŸ™‚

  9. The important thing is to get the words on the page. You can actually make them good later, but if you try to edit as you write, you’re going to slow yourself down and burn yourself out. The first draft is there for getting the plot out. Fine tuning things is better served after you’ve got your ending together.

  10. Pingback: Posts I loved this week | Taylor Grace

  11. I think much the same. Though I can’t help but read over it as I go, especially when I’m stuck. I was considering actually turning the monitor off for Nov. May work for the desk top but the two in one has such a small keyboard that my typos tend to be generous and severe. We’ll see what I find that works.

    I told ya. My drafts are eye searing until about the third revision. Really.

  12. I’m a firm believer in just getting the first draft done so you have something to build on, no matter how shitty it may be, but I’ve never thought about just how simplistic you can get with it (reference: I even have sections where I’ve written, β€˜She’s angry- describe’.) – although, I should’ve. That’s a damn good way to get through a troublesome first draft!

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