Writing a first draft is so different for every writer. Some take years to fine tune every sentence as they work. Some take months or years to prepare, detailing everything in a long outline. For me. the process has always been the same. I have a rough idea, maybe a few paragraphs long, the beginning, the middle, and an idea of where it might end. If it is an historical I take as long as needed to do the research which could be months or years! Plus never underestimate the thinking time involved in writing. Walks, showers, staring into the distance, all times when the "little grey cells" are working are the most important time for me - the time before the writing starts. That's when the themes of the book take shape, the characters start to emerge, and finally, that most important thing- the first sentence. When I have my first sentence- which often changes as the book changes- I am ready to start writing. And then the first draft goes fast. Maybe 3 weeks tops with no interruptions - that's when all things domestic seem to get ignored and we have to hope the water doesn't get turned off because I've forgotten to pay the bill! Oh- but did I mention the procrastination that comes just before the first draft starts? That's when all things domestic get done! The house gets a spring cleaning, drawers that haven't been looked at in years get organized-all because I feel like I will never start the book, it is too difficult, I can't write it - for various reasons depending on the project- etc.
I love the first draft process. It's like running a marathon maybe- not sure since I've never run one, but it is all encompassing and really hard work, and somehow full of elation.
And working this way tends to banish writers block because I don't give myself time for doubt. Or more accurately I try to pay doubt no attention. So when that little voice says to me " This is rubbish" at the end of the work day, I ignore it and keep on writing the next day. It also helps that when I tell my husband it is all awful he reads it and disagrees and that helps me to keep pushing ahead.
The second draft and sometimes up to 20 more? Well, that's another story. But when you write this fast on the first draft there is bound to be lots to fix on subsequent drafts. And I know that and expect it.
Except for my book Lisa which came out just about as you see it on the page...
Tucson Jo had so many drafts I've lost count. Actually I have tried to count and it is well over 30! And that isn't just changing a word here or there that is changing major characters, adding new ones, subtracting ones that aren't working, even changing plot lines. OK. Enough of this- must get back to reading over the first draft of my new science fiction book.
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