• Neka Marie

Passing 50k words and I've Learned A Lot.

(Future Neka checking in: this was written about a month and a half ago and I forgot to post it. Enjoy!)

Or have I learned nothing? It is very hard to tell. The first draft is a drop in the pond, I know that as fact, but as I near completion and start visualizing what comes next, I'm terrified.

For reference, I'm a planster (plotter-pantser hybrid with a heave inclination towards pantsing). I'm not sure my method of getting through this first draft is "effective" but I'm making progress so, I'm going to keep trucking along. One of CP's dropped a brick of knowledge on my head the other day where she said:

"My first draft became the outline for my second." - Kelsey

My brain exploded. For the last few weeks my process went from, "Get it right the first time" to "Just get it down and clean it up later." That means I've had to shut off the perfectionist part of brain and just GO. This concept is so foreign to most of us first time drafters because:

  • The thought of going through draft after draft is frightening.

  • We've been taught, since our early schooling days, to edit as we go.

  • Letting go of what we see in our heads is VERY difficult.

Let's think about those three points in a different way, shall we?

  • Going through draft after draft is not bad. Some of the most prolific authors went through 40 drafts before their final product reached shelves worldwide. Drafts should not be scary. Drafts are lumps of clay waiting to be molded into perfect pottery. Drafts are progress.

  • Editing as you go slows you down. You will NOT get it right the first time around so, focus on just getting your thoughts on paper (or typed up on your document).

  • The first draft is for YOU first and foremost. The first draft is not the absence of your vision but the foundation of it. If you are a perfect writer, great, your first draft will be sent to a literary agent, that agent will sell it and you will have a book on the shelves this fall. Congrats. For most of us, that will not be the case and that is completely fine. Fellow writers, do not be afraid to take the time to build up your vision, it deserves your love and care.

So, where am I in this process?

I'm about 57k words into my first draft, just hit what I think is the mid-point climax and I'm writing for my eyes (and my CP's eyes) only. I was so worried that people would judge what I have down that I ignored the fact that NO ONE would see this draft (other than my CP's). I'm freaking out just a bit because I'm trying to have a complete first draft before #PitMad on June 4th. However, if I don't make it, that's fine. *internal screaming*

Oh, I've picked up a few books on writing as well (Save The Cat! and The Emotion Thesaurus). Again, I know I said I would judge the merit of The Writer's Roadmap on it's own but, the plan is evolving. I watch several hours of authortube daily and have a fairly time sensitive goal, I'm not stunting my progress for a review right now.

What's next?

My plan is to finish the first draft entirely in two weeks. Then my CP's and I will comb through it and begin the second draft. After the third draft, providing I've filled in the few placeholders I have, I'll probably get a pair of fresh eyes on it. I plan on reaching out to literary agents as soon as the second draft is finished (or after the first, who really knows) as well so, it will be a busy typing time. I know exactly who I want to query so, let's hope they are as wowed by me as I am of their client roster.

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