So You’ve Finished Your First Draft?

I don’t think I can accurately depict how proud I was to have finished my first draft of my novel (realistically, I probably could. But that’s an aside). I felt a wave of relief when I typed at that last word. After saving my work, I decided to skim what I had made; fully aware that some edits would need to be made. But, as I read through sections and paragraphs, I could feel a sinking in my stomach. I wasn’t all too happy with what I had. I felt a bit bitter at how quickly my pride was yanked from my hands; the veil lifted to show nothing but mediocrity, in my eyes at least. So what can a writer do when faced with this problem?

The main thing I had to understand that nothing was required to be finite in this draft. I make reference in several posts about the concept of the “bare bones” of a story. The first draft, for me, is meant to get the very basics of an idea for a story. Putting too much pressure on the first draft is one of the most damaging things that I used to do to myself. Even now, I have to really reign myself in when it comes to berating myself on a lack luster first draft.

Changes are a necessity. Getting a full view of what your story is and where it’s going, is useful in finding out how to take it where you want it to. Never set yourself in stone. If I had kept my story in it’s initial state, it would have been even worse than my first draft. Embrace the changes that you plan to make in your first draft.


4 Replies to “So You’ve Finished Your First Draft?”

  1. I have at least one partial novel that I abandoned because I knew I couldn’t bring myself to go back through it with the kind of care necessary – certainly not for a rewrite. Thanks for reminding me I need to revisit this project.


  2. Do you know how amazing it is just to get to that point? Most don’t, so you are now one of the few who’ve put those words there: the end.
    Of course, it’s really just the beginning of the process of making that story you know so well into something so powerful other people will read it and weep, and laugh, and cry, and …
    But you have mastered the first step on the climb to the peak. You are initiated as a writer, and now you put on the editor-who-is-writer hat to power-up, empower, and explode that story ….


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