Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm Up To My Ankles In Crap And You Think This Is A Good Thing Because?

First drafts are not pretty. I've heard this said many times. It's only now as I go through my own work that I can see so clearly why - all the muck. 

I can make due with grammatical errors, illegible words, run on sentences and purple passages but what really irks me is when it all begins to feel like I've lost hold of that luminous gold thread, the whole reason I even began. I can still see peeks of it but the excavation is so slow. Some days it just feels like I am standing in SHIT!

Is this all that I am capable of?

Thanks to Jane Friedman I know the answer is both YES and NO. She wrote an article post on Writer Unboxed that talks about this writer pitfall and breaks down why moments like this can be regarded as a good thing. 

Read article here. 

Thanks Jane, I'm feeling better now. Excuse me while I rock some wellies and get back to work.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your writing? What irks you most about first drafts?


  1. I always overwrite! In the blog world especially if it is fashion related you have to write short and sweet, while fitting in a lot of info. So I write alot then condense, Tom Edison once said, "I would have written you a shorter letter, if only I had the time!"

  2. LOVE the quote!! I'm with you on overwriting. It's a lesson I'm still learning. Great styles, good luck with your blog!

  3. Nancy,
    I know the feeling. There comes a time when I'm well into my work-in-progress and I throw up my arms (not literally) and say, 'What am I doing here?' What I usually do is take a step back from my work and do a little diagnosis. What's not working? Is the story getting away from me? Are the characters going off on their own (hate when that happens)? Sometimes you just have to tough it out and finish that your first draft, then go back with a fresh perspective. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  4. I always want the first draft to be perfect, but I have to accept that it's a work in progress. It's so fun to see how it evolves as I ponder it & include advice from my crit groups.


  5. Thank you Chris and Debbie, all good advice. I'm slowly learning my way through the novel terrain.