Writing, quite simply, is very hard work.
That notion is exacerbated by the intrinsic self- doubting nature of the writer. We are in a constant flux of self-loathing and doubt while paradoxically thinking our writing is superior to all others. Despite the latter mild exaggeration, sometimes a writer unintentionally blocks herself by letting loose the most devious of our subconscious voices: the Internal Narrator.
This bugger is relentless and often obnoxiously loud. She is that niggling little voice that questions every line, every comma, every letter and she should be ignored at all cost.
Let me clarify, the Internal Narrator should be ignored whilst writing your FIRST draft.
The problem, I believe, with writing is that many of us tend to forget that the initial stages of a first draft are just that: a FIRST DRAFT. These are not meant to be manuscripts ready for an agent or publisher’s eyes. Heck, they might not even be read for your beta’s eyes.
So when your Internal Editor is barking away at you, preventing you from getting out even the smallest bit of decent story, remember that writing your first draft means:
- You may not have the first dialog tag
- Your characters may be vapid and identical to that Oh-So-Popular-But-Shallow-Protagonist you just read.
- You may like any sense of place.
- You may be gerund-ing up the entire manuscript whilst telling an awful lot and showing very little.
And you know what? That is quite okay and not even the slightest bit ‘not good.’ It is fine, sure, great, for a FIRST DRAFT which, I believe, you should treat as a framework for the sturdy building your book will become.
So if your first draft sucks, let it suck. Do not be afraid to write bravely. Do not be afraid to suck because in that first draft you will discover much about your characters and the world you’re building. You’ll learn even more about the writer you are becoming.
Oh and about that Internal Editor? Make her keep her mouth shut until after the first draft is complete. Editing is the only place that silly thing is allowed to speak.
Go forth kiddos and suck.