Wednesday 7 May 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group - 7 May


It is time (if I calculated first Wed of the month correctly) for the Insecure Writers Support Group. All the details can be found here. It is the brilliant brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh and enables us to share our fears and support each other.

This month I am thinking about First Drafts. 

We all know - I think - that when writing a first draft, you have to give yourself permission for them to suck. First drafts are rough! They can be edited! I know this in theory.

It's hard to do in reality. Why I manage to work in grammar errors where I know the rule perfectly well, continuity inconsistencies and confuse myself with names, I have no idea. But I do. And I beat myself up about them. Even though I told myself not to.

It's especially awkward when I don't manage to tidy those out before showing them to a patient CP!

But I tell myself, this is how it goes. I know I can edit. I know first drafts suck. I have to allow myself the reality of that, is all. Repeat until I believe it.

Any tips?


  1. Having a first draft is a great place to be, Vikki. Nothing is set in stone. Sometimes it seems hard to delete and/or rewrite, but it's all part of the process. Some best-sellers have been rewritten five times before being published.
    Improving can be fun, so keep editing and take it easy.

  2. I wish I had tips but I have the same problem. Good luck!

    Vikki, I am not going to be blogging the rest of this month and I'm not sure what my summer schedule will be like so could you please remove me from the Celebrate Hop list for now? I don't want to have my name there when I'm not able to participate. Thanks!!

  3. That's where critique partners are helpful - what you miss, they catch. No worries!

  4. When I started writing my first romance novel (still unwritten), I had it fully outlined and started writing. Then the editor took over...I think I finished maybe 3-4 chapters and there it sits. Then I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo - 50k in 30 days. Oh my! No editing allowed. I had a prologue from a dream, a dead body, a setting and a few characters. By the end of that August I had almost 60k written in my first mystery novel (it ended up around 80k) and in Sep/Oct I put on my editor hat.

    Since then I've written a different romance novel during NaNoWriMo and my second mystery in my series by setting up the same parameters for myself. I've found that setting a deadline (good thing I'm retired) helps me NOT edit since getting that first draft on paper is critical! In the process I also discovered that I'm a pantster...who knew? LOL!

    D.B. McNicol
    BLOG: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

  5. My first drafts always suck. I hate reading through them, it makes me think I should give up writing. I love editing just because it gives me chance to fix my sucky first draft, and makes me think writing is for me after all.

  6. I'm with Julie. I have the same condition, so I'm of no use in the help department. I believe First Draft+itis is contagious. And it can be transmitted through blogs. I know this for a fact.

  7. Having a critique partner is a great asset.

  8. CP's are the best! But yes, like that quote says: You can't edit a blank page. So drafts, as rough as they are, are only our first step. :)

    S.K.Anthony: IWSG

  9. Looking at some of your other comments made me realize that I'm more of a pantster myself, since I did NaNo in November and won. Didn't realize I had it in me to stifle that dreaded inner editor, and if I could tell you how I managed to do it, I would. Just remember, first drafts are meant to be horrible; just keep the words flowing. Enjoy the rest of IWSG Day. Eva

  10. I have the same problem. Just can't overlook the bad grammar on that rough draft. Working on it, reminding myself it will get better the next time and the next time. Yes, crit partners are awesome.

  11. Break your story into manageable chunks. Then concentrate on bring each chunk to life with as much detail as possible. Don't leave on thing out, in fact, add more each time you go through. Satisfied you can't add any more move to the next scene.

    When you're finished all the chunks, then start from the beginning and remove the parts that don't fit your plot.

    So far it works for me. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  12. I have the same problem. I beat myself up over first drafts, and it often takes me longer than it should to finish them because I agonize over them. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who beats themselves up over first draft issues.

  13. I think we all feel that way about first drafts every once in a while. Hang in there and maybe re-read some of your fave parts when you're feeling down!

  14. Fanny Barnes Thornton - thank you for your kind words, you are entirely right I know! Onward and upwards!

    Julie Flanders - no worries Julie, I've taken you off!

    Alex J. Cavanaugh - so true, CPs are the best!

    Donna B. McNicol - so interesting to hear that, especially that 'pantsing' helped you get the drafts out! Nanos are great for getting words out!

    Laura Clipson - I do enjoy editing too though sometimes I think argh editing is also hard!

    cleemckenzie - oh no, contagious! :)

    Sheena-kay Graham - absolutely!

    S.K. Anthony - so true!

    lifepostbrainhemorrhage- thank you for your encouraging words!

    Beverly Stowe McClure - my CPs are very patient! :)

    emaginette - thanks for your advice, I will give that a go!

    L.G. Keltner- no I have 1st Draft issues too!

    Nicole - thank you for your kind words. re reading bits is a good plan!


Please comment, I'd love to know what you think! :)