On First Drafting Again

Photo credit: Design Feast on Flickr
So in the past couple weeks, I've started first drafting again, for the first time since 2014. The first project was a short thing that didn't take long to knock out, but this week I started my first WIP experiment in a long time.

For those who aren't familiar with my process, I call all my new writing projects WIP experiments until I've hit 10,000 words. Usually at that point I feel fairly confident I'm not going to walk away from the project and work on something else (though I have on two occasions walked away from a project after hitting the 10,000 word milestone, so nothing is guaranteed). As of this writing I'm about 6.5k in, but I'm aiming to hit the 10k mark the day this post goes live, so fingers crossed.

After spending a full year focused entirely on revisions for various projects, however, first drafting has been...interesting.

I've written about how first drafts are not meant to be perfect and how you don't have to get (anything) right the first time, but the last year or so I've gotten much better at revising plot and recognizing big picture issues which means while first drafting my brain has been more nitpicky than usual. Plus the first full first draft post-publication thing probably is complicating matters too.

The good news is I recognize it, and I know to remind myself that it's fine. It doesn't matter how many issues I recognize while first drafting. It doesn't matter if the pacing is off, or characterization isn't quite right, or subplots are jumbled, or ending fizzles. It doesn't matter if the writing itself is less than spectacular, or the dialogue is corny, or there are seven characters with names that start with S. Everything will be fixed later, but first the story needs to be written down so there's something to fix.

First drafting again is a relief, because last year I was feeling pretty not great that I hadn't written anything new.

First drafting again is scary, because I have no idea if I'll actually get through this WIP, even though I really want to.

First drafting again is helpful, because it's a great distraction from other things I'd be obsessing about right about now without it.

First drafting again is hard, because I've gotten used to working already-written words, and getting to the already-written stage can be challenging.

First drafting again is exciting, because I've got new characters to discover and situations to explore.

Regardless of whether or not this first draft actually makes it to The End, it's nice to be getting new words down on paper again. And with any luck, it'll become a project I'll actually get to develop and grow.

What writing thing are you working on right now? 

Twitter-sized bite:
Author @Ava_Jae talks first drafting again for the first time in over a year. (Click to tweet)

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