After spending months and months editing a novel until it’s the best it can be, it’s hard to go back and start on another book. For me, it’s about quality: the past year I’ve been working on a novel that’s pretty close to publishing-quality. So it’s strange – painful, even – to jump back into writing and find myself wading through first draft quality. I’ve thought to myself several times man, why am I so bad at this? And then I patiently remind myself that this is the first draft of my new novel.
This is one of my favorite writerly quotes:
“The First Draft is Just You Telling Yourself the Story.” -Terry Pratchett
Or I’ve also heard it put this way:
As someone who doesn’t really plan out their story ahead of time, these speak to me on a deep level. I’m feeling this strange pressure to be perfect, to obey all the “rules” of writing, to write flawless prose on my first go. And not to mention, to have my plot perfectly thought out – complete with every plot twist and piece of suspense. Oh, and my characters? They need to be exactly right ASAP.
It’s okay to write trash.
That’s what rough drafts are for.
No matter where you are in your writing process, allow yourself room for mistakes. Take chances. Write boldly. Pick yourself up when you fail. Also do learn to edit well.