The Dreaded Situation

The dreaded situation that is completion of the first draft. This is literally, for me, the worst part of the writing process. My ideas being down on paper are both amazing to me, as a realization, and terrible as part of the process.

Here me out, because I can feel you thinking that I must have been hit on the head and become completely mental. This is my reasoning – NOW, the real work begins. Anyone that tells you their initial draft of their work is almost ready for publishing is quite frankly, arrogant and full of shit. They are either lying to you, to appear awesome, or lying to themselves, to avoid the reality of where they are as a writer.

Last night I completed the first draft on a short story. As I am working on getting the last page down it hits me that I will soon be reviewing my own work and looking for the ways that it isn’t good enough. When I finish writing something as the initial draft I force myself to set it down for at least a couple of days. I either work on other projects, my website(s), research, or consume (any and all I can). The initial draft for me, and I assume for a lot of people, is all about getting the rough ideas down before you forget them. Of course, I may be wrong and this is just something I have to do before my ADHD has me forgetting what I am writing to begin with. The struggle is real! I don’t even aim for ready to publish, just hope for fundamentally sound and avoidance of contradictory statements.

Even with this knowledge that my first draft sets the bar low on completeness, it is sometimes painful to work over my own writing and seek improvements. I am truly my own worst critic. Something I am sure most can understand and relate to for themselves. However, I believe that this part of the process is critical to improving myself as a writer and getting my work to a state worth publishing. And, sadly it must be done by me. I’m not saying an external editor isn’t a good idea or even necessary. What I am saying is this needs to happen before I ever engage a “fresh set of eyes” on my work. I don’t engage others until I am at least on the 3rd draft of the work.

The revision phase of writing, to me at least, is like going to the gym. It is painful (because if it isn’t you didn’t do enough), but in the end it makes your work healthier. Since I finished a first draft last night, today is all about dreading the start of reworking it. Just kidding (mostly). I think after I publish this I am going to look over other writing projects that I haven’t finished and possibly take some notes on some new project ideas.

Good luck to all of you in your writing process. As always feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, or questions with me via social media.

Twitter: @shawn_writes

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~Shawn