I would love to write a flawless first draft, where every word on the page is beautiful, complete, and polished.
The voice in my mind chuckles and says, “Dream on.”
Sometimes people ask me how I get from an idea to a finished manuscript. Immediately I have the urge to sound super professional because I am a serious writer. There is a huge time commitment, financial investments, plus publishing steps and details, each one vital and describing the process is lengthy.
Most of the time I’m able to stop myself before the words escape out into the open because as they traipse through my mind, I realize the inquiry is kind but hearing the details is sort of like hearing about someone’s whose neighbor has an aunt who has a friend who had bunion surgery last week. Of course, we care about the person’s recovery, but the details and the distance? If we’re honest, not so much.
I think to these good people, I might sound sort of like Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Wha, wha, wha, wha, wah.”
For most writers, the work from start to finish is at times arduous, exhausting and is the hardest, (Que up Poor, Poor Pitiful Me by Linda Ronstadt!) most challenging, fun, and satisfying, jobs we’ve ever had.
And when a project is done, we begin again because even the most difficult stages are worth it.
Even after a hard day with the words, when I think every letter I managed to put on the page is garbage, I can hardly wait to get back to them.
But how in the world could I say that to my kind-hearted non-writer friends? Or even to those who write and already know the steps.
Yesterday, sitting in one of my favorite Caribous I watched car after car flow by, and the answer to the above question came.
Here’s what I’m doing to get Whimsy’s Way from the first draft to the final draft:
Chapter by chapter I’m telling myself Whimsy’s story. In the coming weeks, I’ll retell myself her story again and again until it’s done. Then you’ll be invited to read it.
Here’s the simplified version of my writing process these days:
- I read the last chapter I wrote yesterday.
- I write the next 1000 words and take a 15-minute break.
- I cycle back and read those 1000 words and write the next 1000 and take another break.
- I cycle back to those last 1000 and read them again and if I have the creative energy, I write another 1000 words.
If you’re a working writer, how do you get from the first draft to final draft? Please share your short answer in the comments.
If you’re a new writer, I hope you leave this page infused with the courage to get your words on the page because they matter!
Until Next Time,
Unless otherwise noted, all the graphics in the Writer’s Life posts are from the generous photographers at Pixabay.