Those Writers Were You

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As writers, we struggle at times to get words on a page, ideas formulated, and plots created. We labor through a crummy first draft, along the way, sporadically wondering why we are writing the particular stories we are trying to write at that time.

Sometimes we feel alone, like we’re the only ones with brain melt from the overwhelming mental effort it takes to create storylines, plots, characters, and scenes.

In between those struggles, we read books we truly adore, finding them superbly written, taking us out of our worlds and into the characters’ worlds.

We thank the magnificent authors for spurring ideas for our own stories and helping us to write our next few paragraphs, or even chapters.

A few days ago, I came across an inspirational quote via a meme circulating on Twitter that really did uplift me and made me feel like all my work was worth it. And it made me realize all these wonderfully written books by these awesome writers were once where I was before they were known and their books soared in the published and reading realm.

“Never forget that every single one of your favorite books

were once awful, error-filled, unpolished first drafts.” — Unknown

 

Now, go finish that first draft, those revisions, and know your book(s) is/are just as spectacular as the ones you read.

 

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First Draft Fits

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I’ve written about the struggles of writing and finishing a first draft before, like just this January! I gave myself three months to get as much done as I could. The third month is just beginning.

I’ve written several more scenes, words, chapters, so at least I’ve been at it. But have I gotten far enough along according to what I’d challenged myself to do via my previous blog post: “…hoping the first draft will be done by the end of that time period. If not, at least it’ll be close”? Well, I’m closer, but with all the scenes that have popped in my head, the paths my characters have taken me…it’s been a good trek, heading toward the end goal, but I wouldn’t say I’m on the cusp of writing “THE END”.

My WIP, What She Didn’t Know, is nearly sixty thousand words so far and is written from three different third person point of views, and perhaps this is why it’s taking me longer.

Both my novel, Passage of Promise, and my novella, Mourning Dove, are from one third person point of view.

With three different points of view, there is so much more to write because you have three different people’s lives to build character ARCs and intertwine their lives into a main plot of sorts.

So, I started writing What She Didn’t Know January 14, 2018. And what I’d said before in my previous blog on this: “I blame my half-done piece on working on my other done pieces” I’ve still been doing! For shame!

I did some research on how long most authors take to write their first drafts. I’ve read anywhere from a few weeks to six months. This definitely spurred me into thinking, “What am I doing with my work in progress?!”

I’ve got to just focus on this piece and finish it!

I needed some encouragement, so I wandered around websites for authors’ comments on finishing the first draft, and this one by Shannon Hale, a young adult fantasy author, absolutely struck and inspired me. I love it:

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” 

How long did it take you to write your first draft? What motivated you to get it done? If you’re not done, get to it! 😀

 

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In Writing, When Do You Get to that “It’s Ready!” Pinnacle Point?

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With so many revisions to my novel over the past three years, I began to wonder when I’ll know when my story will be at that perfect point to call it completely finished. When will it be in the best polished condition to send to my editor and then work on publishing it?

Because I don’t know about you, but at times, I’ve felt just like this frantic writer in this cartoon.

COD editing support group for blog post

The comfort in this cartoon is knowing some writers suffer the endless revising of their novels that I fear my continuous revising may be headed for.

Therefore, I googled this question, and many links popped up. I read through at least four of them, from top ten ways to go about getting your book in the best shape to submit it to publishers to what entails revising your novel.

“Half my life is an act of revision.”  John Irving

So, after picking through these websites, I discovered the basic answer. Unfortunately, it’s not a silver bullet, a “Eureka! I’m done!” kind of answer.

But if you trust in your own discernment and ability of when the pinnacle point that renders a polished product is, you’ll be on the right path.

“I have rewritten–often several times–every word I have ever written.        My pencils outlast their erasers.” Vladimir Nabokov  

So, it looks like while you’re going through your many revisions (I’ve lost count), you’ll be refining the wording, sculpting the scenes, sharpening the dialogue to reach that apex.

Your story will eventually culminate into a satisfying whole piece in which you will know in your heart this is the moment to tie it up with a pretty bow and send it out to the editing and publishing world.

In conclusion, trust in your own ability to discern when your story is at its best, most  whole. 

How has your revising process been going? How did you feel when you reached the polished stage of your writing endeavor?

 

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