Day 219 – It’s a love-hate relationship

Day two hundred nineteen of my 365 Day Writing Project.

As I continue to rewrite and revise my first draft, I sometimes feel like I’m in some kind of bipolar existence. One moment I’m reading it thinking, “Who wrote this garbage?” and then another moment I’m caught up in the story and a single sentence leads me to breathe a deep sigh and forms a smile on my face. Can I really love and hate my own book at the same time?

Yes. I absolutely can, and here is why: because it’s the first draft. It is a simple fact of a first draft that there are at least as many lousy parts as those that are good. The point of rewriting second, third, fourth and tenth drafts is to eliminate the junk and turn the rest into something great. I have faith that at some point in the revision of multiple drafts, my love-hate relationship with my book will evolve into love-love.

“(W)riters are often the worst judges of what they have written.” –Stephen King, Just After Sunset

Day 119 – Keep shoveling and hope for the best

Day one hundred nineteen of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 117, 118 and 119:  2,300

Writing is easy. Writing something you hope people will truly love is damn difficult. I’m having one of those moments when I’m unsure about my writing. I blame these moments on my over-thinking, critical mind. It never lets me go too long without letting some doubt creep in. Fortunately, I don’t doubt what I’m doing. I just doubt the quality of it.

In so many ways, writing a first draft is freeing. The writer can throw it all against the wall and not have to worry about what sticks and what doesn’t. That part comes later. But sometimes the ability to write with reckless abandon and zero refinement can leave the writer wondering what the hell she wrote.

Sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.

-Stephen King

Usually, the fundamentals are there: spelling, grammar, a logical story line, etc. But the writer knows that something about a certain chapter is missing. That’s where I was today. In that moment I tried to tell myself that I will be able to fix it later; during the editing and re-writing phase, I will know what to do to make it great. Enter doubt. What if I won’t know how to make it great? And worse yet, what if no matter how hard I try, I can’t?

Hopefully, Mr. King is right. Hopefully, even though it sometimes feels like I’m shoveling shit, it’s still good.

Day 80 – Leaving the crappy writing for later

Day eighty of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,200

I have no idea why but tonight I was wide awake and on a roll. I didn’t work quickly, but I did get a nice amount of writing done. This was just the opposite of what I experienced yesterday when I kept falling asleep while writing. Exhaustion really takes a toll on my ability to think and write something meaningful. And my productivity, too.

I have a feeling the 500 words I wrote last night are total garbage. The idea behind the scene I started is good (I think), but the rest of the writing and content is crap (I think). That’s one of the problems with falling asleep at the wheel. I don’t remember most of what I wrote. The temptation to go back to read and fix it tonight was strong. But I’m not going to do it. I’m leaving it for later.

Those 500 words of potentially crappy writing are there to stay until I finish the first draft and go back later to edit them or cut them out entirely. Most writers know the beginning of the Stephen King quote, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings…” Because of this quote, I know how important it is to not spend time now editing and re-working the crappy writing. Because if I can’t turn it into something brilliant, I’ll have to kill it. And writing that I spent tons of precious, agonizing time and effort editing and re-writing is more of a darling little dear to me than writing completed in one shot while nodding off to sleep that I barely even remember. Those are darlings I can kill without remorse.

And this is another example of why I, with great effort, try to follow the rule to write now, edit later.