Lately, I’ve been doing better at the “writing every day” thing. As I laid out in my last writing update, “NaNoWriMo 2016 Wrap Up“, I’ve changed a few things to my writing lifestyle and habits.
All the advice that’s out there boils down to one point: Keep writing and either everything will fall together or you’ll be able to stitch it up nicely in later editing showdowns. I have found myself needing to repeat that over and over through each writing session and even throughout my many frenzied note taking.
NaNo 2016 saw well over 30K words to my current project and I am now more stuck with this first draft than I have ever been with any previous project before it. I am now at a point where I feel that I have the foundation and backbone of the story solidified. However, the plot only decided to cement fifteen chapter in and at the beginning of Part Two. Now I am struggling to finish the story as if the first fourteen chapters had been on board with this new direction the whole time.
I’ve read a few debut authors this year including, Kerri Maniscalco for Stalking Jack the Ripper and Jenny Moyer for Flashfall to name a few. While reading those titles I found myself wondering how much of their story was there that the author cut away, how many details were changed before this plot line, character flaw, or sentence structure was decided upon? Then a darker part of my brain loves to speak up saying I suck because of all the plot holes, crappy sentences that should never see the light of day, and the character development that I can’t get under control when these debuts authors were able to accomplish their stories with little problems. Then… then I believe my brain. For a moment I believe that I’ll never reach the end, all of the random plot points will never meld together and I should drop the project and work on something that actually has a chance at being completed and has a chance of becoming something more than a broken idea.
It’s in those times that I have to walk away from my computer or my notes and find solace with a book, video game, or even cuddling with the dog and forcing the poor animal to be my pillow as I make her watch one of my favorite shows with me. Another singular piece of writing advice I’ve seen that is generally agreed upon by the writers of the world is not spending more than two days at a time away from your writing. When my brain likes to betray me I think about this, but I don’t always follow it. Sometimes it might take weeks for me to sit down and reconcile with my project again.
When it comes to this first draft I’m trying to set realistic goals. I have no idea what a realistic goal for a messy first draft should even look like. Does anybody? If you do please let me know the guidelines you follow in the comments. I honestly don’t know how I ended up with a want for writing as my end goal career because I am not a patient person. My impatience is the very reason I haven’t learned how to cook and why I hate the whole process and why I haven’t learned a new instrument even though I would love nothing more than being able to play music again as a means of stress relief.
I look into the future and I can see how much time I’ll be spending with this one writing project and I become too overwhelmed, but I don’t know how to not continue. Then I’m back to square one. How do you put a deadline on a first draft? If I don’t have a rough estimate I know I’ll end up dragging out this first go until I die. But just like with everything else that comes with first draft failures it’s a game of stop and start.
Realistically (or what I think is a realistic goal) I want to have the first draft done in another three months from now and then read a few books and then start on the second draft and give the first fourteen chapters the plastic surgery it so desperately needs and hope that doesn’t change the entire tone of the story again.
Honestly, I don’t know anything when it comes to how to finish this draft. I’m 30K something words in, fifteen chapters and we have just dipped our toes into Part Two. What I still need to do to help me accomplish this draft is establish a writing time (which is extremely difficult when four days out of your week can never be relied upon to be the same) and write even when I’m tired.
Now I just need to get the words flowing again. I’ve drawn up a rough glance for the rest of what I want Part Two to look like and have given the next few chapters a few lines of description each to keep the ideas flowing and somewhat connected.
If any of you have any tips, tricks, hints, methods… or anything to finishing the first draft then please leave all of your comments below and I look forward to discussing this further. Speaking of I will be back for another writing update. Happy writing to all you Scribblers.