First Draft-itis

Remember in high school when you made it to the second semester of your senior year and you got senioritis and you didn’t want to do ANYTHING? Well, I get that way when I finish my first drafts, especially if I’m facing some big problems. In my perfect world, a first draft would be polished and good to go and it’d be time to work on the next project. Well, life’s not perfect (in case you didn’t know) and the thing is, instead of wandering my way through the next steps, it’s time to really buckle down. Nevertheless, I just can’t do it right now. Have you ever had this problem?

Usually when I begin to struggle with my writing, it’s because there’s a larger issue I’m dealing with. But right now? I’m not too busy and I’m not dealing with drama. Instead, I’m facing some major edits which have me grumbling and not wanting to sit in front of the computer and face them. On the agenda? Fixing the dialogue. I wrote all of my dialogue in the same format as my last novel. You can’t do that with a Dystopian YA. The Victorian voice doesn’t work so well for an under-educated main character. Also, because the story is told in first person, I have to alter the narrative voice quite a bit too. Finally, I also need to consider whether the entire story should switch and be written in third person as opposed to first. Shudder. I did that with The Green Lady

It’s been weeks now since I’ve made any headway and I want to get cranking on my next project. But I can’t do that until Withered World is a done deal.

So, how am I going to combat this problem? Because I’ve already paid for a cover design, and there’s nowhere to go but forward. Check out my to-do list below for helpful tips in dealing with your own bout of first draft-itis!

  1. Immerse yourself in the genre. If your edits have to do with the voice or tone of your project, taking a step back and becoming a reader again might be useful. I reached out to some of my friends in my writer’s group and asked for some YA Dystopian fiction that takes a literary tone so I can figure out how to compromise my preferred writing style a bit better with the voice of the genre. This works out great because now my reading calendar for my upcoming vacation is stocked! Woot!
  2. Talk it out. Find someone to talk things over with. My writing buddy J.R. Boles and I have had multiple phone conversations about my WIP and how to fix it. In fact, she is the one who pointed out to me the voice discrepancies as she was doing a first look at the project for me. She is also the one who is pushing me to forward because my first thought was to scrap the whole thing. (Thank you for your honesty, BTW! ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  3. Find a way to motivate yourself. What activity will remind you that your project is moving along towards completion? For me, it’s the cover design. I’ve already hired a designer and expect to have a design back in the next week or so. Seeing the design and my name on the work will really help me to rediscover my lost motivation. Plus, I already spent the money. I don’t want to waste it!
  4. Make time. I’ve gotten out of the habit of working now and I simply haven’t been making time for my project. It’s time to get back to basics and make time for my writing. This is going to involve writing dates with fellow writers and more nights as a homebody rather than being out on the town. But it’s worth it in the end.
  5. Remember the positives. It’s so easy to focus on the things you don’t like in your work-in-progress. But it’s important to remember the things that you’ve accomplished (like writing a 70K+ manuscript). And while there is a lot of work to be done, there are surely things you’ve written already that are worthy of pride. For example, at least my issues aren’t structural. I have a small story line to move around. But really, in the grand scheme of things, this part of the work is complete.

When I get through my reading list, I plan to hunker down and get back to work. Here’s to making progress!ย  Happy writing! ๐Ÿ™‚

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2 thoughts on “First Draft-itis

  1. Thanks for this Sara, this is great. Talking it out is always really helpful I find. Especially because it usually makes you confront plot holes or inconsistencies that you had put to the back of your mind.

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