For me at least, the middle of the draft is a whirlwind of emotion.
On the one hand, I’m actually writing. Not thinking about writing, not talking about writing, not writing about writing—WRITING. And that’s huge, and awesome, particularly for me who has made a career out of doing nothing BUT not writing (a.k.a. doing nothing).
But I’m not necessarily writing well. And that’s okay! It’s a first draft, it’s going to go through tons of revision, it can change in so many ways.
However, if you let yourself wander down that path of thought too long, it starts to get you. Maybe I’m going to end up replacing that character, or cutting that scene, which would make the next scene unnecessary or radically different… And should I go back and change it now? I’ll still keep going, right, but first just a peek, just a paragraph—
Or I just finished a scene, and it… did not go great. It’s not blatantly horrible or anything, just… not good. Not something I’d want out in the world. But it might just be the seeds of something good…
So you just have to keep moving forward. Don’t look back. Don’t change things. Even if you messed up on the continuity, or the eye color, or said the wrong character’s name for that dialogue tag. Stop. Just leave it.
This is a lot harder than it sounds. I don’t know if it’s perfectionism, or some kind of arrogant feeling that unlike all other writers I would somehow write a perfect first draft, or (most likely of all) simple impatience for the final draft and agony over just how much I’ll have to change.
But I just have to keep going.
And, for some reason I really don’t want to poke at lest it burst, it’s really happening. I’m living in this terrified state of not doubting it, but constantly seeing doubts waiting in the corners of my eyes. It’s scary, and exciting, and… everything.
I just have to keep moving forward.
More details tomorrow!