Drafting Mentalities

For the last week, all I’ve been doing is drafting—which is absolutely incredible. It also means all I have to blog about is drafting, so I apologize for the repetition. I’ll try to think of some alternative topics soon.

But for now, I wanted to mention the two mentalities dominating this whole process, which otherwise has been fairly Zen. I’m able to remind myself that the first draft can be as horrible as it needs to be, and that not everyone is going to like what I write anyway. My philosophy is—Write the best that you can, edit the best you can, and then let whatever happens, happen. We’ll see how long that sticks around.

Yet as I’m drafting, I’ve found my greatest anxieties are not quality or reception, but instead two main concerns: length/pacing and speed.

The first is an obsession with things being the right length, the right pace, so that each part of the story matches its goal. Especially with episodes, I have a concern of making each episode the same length. I am aware that revision will change so much about the story—including length—so it really doesn’t matter. And yet I find myself constantly checking word count and page number to see where I’m at compared to where I should be… and planning where I’m going next. I keep telling myself not to worry about it, but I’ve had to hide word count from sight.

And I have been writing at an amazing pace that I’m thrilled by—and yet I keep worrying that I won’t keep it up, that I’ll slow down and fall behind on my completely imaginary deadline. It started when I finished the first one so much faster than I had thought possible, and then the second one even faster, and now I want to keep that up. But I’m worried about burning out if I push myself too hard… so I keep telling myself that it can take as long as it needs to. And yet I just want it done. Now.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the feeling I have of being balanced on the edge of a knife. I don’t even want to think about it too hard lest it all come crashing down. I’m keeping up the journal in order to document this process—and hoping and praying that I will not be chronicling my descent into failure. But I’m starting to realize this really is in my control, and I can do this.

But I don’t want to get overconfident… so I’m just keeping it mellow. We’ll see what happens. Or doesn’t. But will. 🙂

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About J. Sevick

Just write.
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