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Last Week’s WW: Trying for Success

You’ve probably heard this advice before: finish your first draft.  Obviously, if you ever want to publish you need a finished project.  But if you want to be a writer, this step is important for more reasons.  And there’ll be a lot of things trying to stop you along the way.

The biggest reason?  To prove that you can do it.  Everyone thinks that they have a story in them.  But writers have the need to get it out.  If you start over and over, or move on to another project, then how will you know that you have it in you to finish?   You won’t.  And you’ll have wasted a lot of time.

It sounds like an easy task.  After all, you’ve thought up the story.  You’ve gotten excited about it.  What could stop you from finishing?  Turns out, there’s a lot.

Life, for one thing, can get in the way.  Maybe you had to work extra hours this week?  Maybe you have kids.  Maybe you’re just too tired.  If you have a need to write, you’ll find the time and energy.  Write on your lunch break.  Write when the kids are asleep.  Drink some coffee, take a nap, or get up early, whatever works best for you.  Find the time.  Don’t let life boss you around.

Perfectionism.  Sometimes, you just want it to be write.  Maybe you’re not getting an idea to come across the way that you want it to.  Maybe you’re story seems off.  Maybe you’ve had a revelation about the beginning of your book, and you need to go back and start over.  Wrong.  It’s a first draft, it’s going to be bad.  Got a new idea?  Great, write it down and finish the book as if it was in there.  Your first draft is an ugly map.  Your second draft is where you flesh out and smooth out the story.  And your third draft is where you make it pretty.

Fear.  If you finish a story, someone might someday read it.  They might not like it.  You might feel bad because they didn’t like it.  Fear is tricky.  It’s not as in-your-face as perfectionism.  It’s not an obvious obstacle like life.  This one will sneak up on you and you won’t even know it’s there.  But if you’re having trouble getting through your first draft, think about why.  You might just find fear lingering deep down.  And the only way to kill fear is by facing it head on.

Those are just some of the things that will try to stop you.  You must always be on your guard.  Even if the passion for your project wains, stick with it.  Finish your story.  Get the first draft down.  Let it be ugly.  Don’t be tempted to go back and revise.  Save that for the next draft.  Don’t let life stop you.  Find the time.  Be brave, and prove you can do it.