Finishing a first draft feels like a momentous achievement – for about five minutes until the angst sets in. Because when you read back through your manuscript, all the half-baked characters, plot holes, repetitions, inconsistencies, unnecessary details, missing details, superfluous scenes and general waffle will taunt you from the page, making you feel inadequate, unskilled, a FAILURE. Scenes and chapters are in the wrong order. Some things don’t make sense. Other things aren’t plausible. The middle sags. On and on it goes. First Draft Blues are harsh and can make you lose perspective, convincing you you’re not a good enough writer. But that’s not the truth. A first draft is a temporary, unavoidable stage that your manuscript must go through before it starts to take shape. And First Draft Blues are temporary, too. But to help shoo them on their way as fast as possible, I’ve written a little ditty to cheer you up and cheer you on. It’s called…
GO AND DO ONE, FIRST DRAFT BLUES
Your first draft is full of shit
And you feel like an utter tit
It won’t see the light of day
So you might as well chuck it away
STOP – in the name of fiction!
It’s a very common affliction
For what looks like a puddle of puke
Are the foundations that will form your book
Now allow yourself some credit
And prepare for a ruthless edit
There’s really no need to panic
You’re not trying to re-float the Titanic
When you compare draft one with draft two
That difference will be all down to you
By the time draft five’s in full swing
Your story will be starting to sing!
All those rewrites and revisions?
Just necessary steps on the mission
Be kind to yourself and stay bright
First drafts are supposed to be shite