Conquering the Fear of the First Draft

Dec 10, 2010

I finally got started on the actual writing of BaB yesterday. It took me a while to dredge up the courage, actually.


Yes, courage. Starting in on a new first draft terrified me. Why? Because I'm horribly afraid it's going to suck.

Newsflash to me: Of course it's going to suck. It's a first draft.

But I still don't have a clear idea of what my protag wants, or what my antag wants. My outline and character sketches are crap. I can't start writing until I figure all that out!

Second newsflash to me: Remember how you're a pantser and it took you 20,000 words to figure that out in Devolutionaries?

Oh. Right. Deep breath.

It's funny how I'm somehow expecting myself to write the first draft of BaB to be as good as Devs is after 3 drafts. I just try to keep reminding myself that it's okay if this draft sucks. It's supposed to suck. And when it does and I'm done with it, I get the joy of creating something awesome out of the first 70,000 words of sludge.

So, my friends, what scares the daylights out of you when you write? First drafts? Final drafts? Queries? Characters? Pacing? Please share!

21 comments:

Madeleine said...

good luck with your drafts and revisions. i spent all day trying to write a short story that isn't quite working how I'd like and has given me brain ache LOL!
I wish I was more of a plotter, so it's back to the drawing board for me. I'm studying the snowflake method to see how I fare. LO)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Uggh. I'm sorry it's hard to get started, but once you get going, you'll love it and everything will start to flow.

I am afraid of suckage, too. I'm afraid of rewrites. But when I'm in the middle of them, I don't mind them. At this point, I'm feeling slight anxiety about the querying process which is looming for me sometime next year. (Who knows when, though - haha.) I've put more into this particular book than the others I've written, so I know the rejections are going to sting more. Makes me a little gun shy.

Happy first-draft writing!
Amy

KarenG said...

I know just how you feel! It's so hard to get past the *this will suck* emotions and just get writing. Good luck!

M Pax said...

You'll figure all those things out when you start writing. :) That's what first drafts are for.

I need to learn to get faster at them. Will attempt on the next one. Right now I'm revisioning. I'll be on that the next few months. That's where we really need to know what we're doing. :)

Happy writing!

Jodi Henry said...

The opening scene of a story is the most terrifying for me. I always think: Is this where the story should start?

I never know until I get to the end if my story started right where it should have. I usually change the opening completly in revisions.

Good luck

Milo James Fowler said...

I'm over 60K into my WiP and woke up this morning petrified that I didn't know how it was going to end; I just know what's going to happen next. So yeah. Regular pantser fears aplenty.

mshatch said...

None of it scares me. Sometimes it feels like work - like during revisions or when I'm trying to gather up all the pieces at the end and put them back to gether neatly, logically - but most of the time I'm happiest when I'm writing.

Nathalie said...

It is a daunting process when starting a new WIP. If you're a planner, all the work you put into creating the perfect plot and story line can be enough to steer you away from the whole idea. Pansters (like myself) risk getting 20,000 words into a draft and realizing it sucks and is going nowhere. Regardless, we, as writers, keep plugging away and banging our heads until we get it right and then look back on it all and say, "Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?"

Good luck!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Good luck with the first draft, Shallee. Just let the words flow, get the story out. There will be time enough for rewrites later.

Hmm...what scares me is ofcourse first drafts and queries and character arcs.

Misha said...

*cough cough* I'm scared spitless by my second draft.

This pantser now has to plot...

EEEP!

Julie Musil said...

Good luck with your first draft! For me, that's the hard part. Once I've got something to work with, I love revising. Giving myself permission to write a horrible first draft was liberating!

Medeia Sharif said...

The messiness of a first draft can be daunting, but I charge ahead.

DL Hammons said...

By far....queries! They are impossible! :)

Emy Shin said...

I hesitate and hem-haw quite a while before I can muster up the courage to begin my first drafts. The idea in my head, before written down, is so perfect. I'm perpetually afraid that the product will be terrible, that what I write won't be what I imagine. I know it won't be, but knowing doesn't make it easier.

Telling myself that it's only the first draft, that I have permission to suck helps, a little. :)

Good luck with your first draft!

Abby Minard said...

It took me a while to write my first draft, and now I'm ready for revision/edits. I'm kinda scared of that, and maybe that's why I haven't started in on it yet.

MT said...

I get a little nervous when I'm in the middle of my wip, and all the balls are in the air, and I've got to create some sense of it and tie everything together in the end. Good luck! :)

Lydia K said...

I totally have that fear. It so terrifying! And then I write a sentence, and another, and the fear lessens. But it does come back in waves, like now, gulp!

alexia said...

Queries! There's so much hanging on the query - I psych myself out!

myimaginaryblog said...

I get really scared when I'm writing and a giant claw comes through the wall and slices off my arm. It would definitely scare the daylights out of me if I had any daylights in me, but mostly what I have in me are internal organs. But my internal organs don't deal very well with giant slicing claws, either.

(Probably you need to make a rule that people who don't write books shouldn't comment.)

As far as the non-book writing I currently do, my biggest times of fear are probably before and after writing blog posts. Beforehand I'll hesitate because I'm afraid of writing something dumb or boring, and afterward I'll be even more anxious because I actually HAVE written something dumb and boring. There are many times when I'm going about my normal life and suddenly remember I have a blog, and I'll think, "What am I DOING on the internet?" and I want to go tear the whole thing down.

Fortunately I do enjoy every minute of the writing time between before and after.

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Nathalie Uy said...
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