Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stuck in Second Draft Hell

Writing takes discipline. But what happens when you come out of the gate strong but can't finish the race? It's a problem that affects thousands of writers every time they put pen to paper and I happen to be one of them. I'm the classic case of a person with dozens of finished first drafts, but piles of second drafts that have difficulty getting finished. .

I've tried all kinds of methods-setting up file cards with outlines, a 15 minute timer to try and get started and keep going, leaving a word in the middle of the sentence to pick up the next day and yes the 1,000 word a day goal. I have also tried the method of file folders labeled Ingredients, Half-Cooked, Cooked, and Out of the Oven and On the Table.

In the beginning of putting a story together I am almost manic in my enthusiasm to get the words out, and I have great success with first drafts. It's the revision that kills me. I used to be one of those people that revised and rewrote every time I went back to the piece until I finally stopped that and just got the draft out complete with errors.

Perhaps the satisfaction of finishing the whole story is the problem. I have dozens of completed manuscripts and even more ideas that are just waiting to be worked on. But the completed first drafts aren't ready for public consumption and the more I move onto completing new drafts, the bigger the pile of papers needing second drafts become, and the output is next to nothing.

So here I sit in limbo fighting not to start another new story looking at the pile of work just waiting to be polished and sent out. It's a tricky business this writing. Hopefully I'll find something to get me motivated to finish because I know that if I can complete all the work- it will be worth it.

1 comment:

Rebecca A Emrich said...

keep up the good fight dear! Edits will get done, I can't wait for the book.
love this blog!