So lately I have been working on some second drafts. My brain feels like mush. Its not that it’s excruciatingly difficult, it’s just similar to that. Never has writing felt so forced for me. I guess this makes sense since I am editing a piece, not really writing something completely new. But it still doesn’t feel quite right, like I am working a muscle that just won’t budge, not that its injured or anything, it just can’t quite handle the weight. Also it ranges, I’d say writing first drafts goes quite smoothly but working on these second drafts doesn’t drag only about a third of the time. Meaning that it does feel fluid at times.
I read some advice of successful writers who emphasized cutting down on your first draft for your second. I think it was Stephen King who originated the cut 10% rule. At least one of them said to completely rewrite in your second draft. I, of course, have elected to do neither of these verbatim. It’s not that I don’t edit, I do, nor do I not rewrite my first draft. I just have to add details in to my stories smooth out transitions and bring body to some of the clunky sections. Also, some of my first drafts are too complicated to leave out details. I wouldn’t say that I write my first drafts bare-bones, but I don’t throw tons of detail on the page like most writers; which is fine with me, I can add that later. But this seems to be contrary to the process of most writers so its entirely possible that this is purely a phase of writing and editing, and with more knowledge and skill it will fade away.
The point being, writing a second draft is mentally straining. But, just do it, and do it any way you can. As long as you feel its at all improving upon your initial idea, then you are doing something right. And I am certain my second drafts are an improvement upon their predecessors. If anything, the few weeks or months you waited to write this second draft, is enough time to dramatically improve your writing skills.
JUST KEEP GOING
If you ever feel like you are not getting better at something, just look at something old you made. I am not sure if this will brighten your day, or just make you cringe uncomfortably as boredom and confusion repel you from your abomination.
I checked out something I worked on for a bit last year when I wasn’t writing consistently and man was it rough. The whole first paragraph was unbearably awful but even in the thousand words I managed there was noticeable improvement. I even laughed at a couple parts near the end. I had managed to find things I liked about it.
It’s a story I have been hoping to re-attempt lately so it will be interesting to see how much it will change and improve. You won’t see this. You won’t ever see it; I think I would become physically ill if someone read that first paragraph. So would the person reading it.
So don’t focus on how hard a time you are having at the moment but focus on how much you are improving. Change is tough, especially when it’s a good transformation. Be happy that your brain hurts. It’s growing stronger. But don’t let it grow too strong, you don’t want it to think it doesn’t need you any longer.
This post is entirely too serious. Who wrote this?