Tag Archives: rough draft


Creative Ebbs and Flows

Hello (hello)… Is there anybody out there?

Several years ago, I decided that I would have a book published by the time I turned 35.

In April, that date came and went, and still I have no book.

Sometimes I set goals that seem to make sense at the time. They seem to be far away. They seem to allow enough time to do everything that needs to be done. But they don’t account for real life.

I like to imagine that if I were a full-time writer, I’d have all my ducks in a row. I’d leave the house, go to my creatively decorated shed (like Roald Dahl’s), and spend the day coming up with awesome things that would be loved by people around the world. However, when I have two hours free, and I know I should be writing, I do chores. I don’t know why. If I’ve decided I won’t write, I at least play video games or do something fun. But if I think I should be working, then I’m reorganizing junk in my apartment. I think it’s a form of self-torture by procrastination.

I’m on the 4th draft of a book now. I have beta readers sending me messages and asking when the book will be ready. This is a good place to be. But those last steps, which seemed so small a few months ago, are SO BIG right now. When in the world am I going to do all of this? I need a cover (I have a cover). I need multiple different formats for epublishing (once I get it typed in, I can do this with a few clicks). I need a website (got one), and a blog (started one), and a platform (got that, too), and, and, and, and…

What I really need to do is keep getting the book typed in. (I wrote draft #3 by hand.) But when I look at the notebooks filled with my chunky scrawl, it doesn’t seem that easy. Forget that I’ve been working on this book for over a year now. Forget that I’ve diligently written 3 complete drafts of it now, and it really is almost finished. Forget that I’ve put in over 150,000 words on it. It still feels hard right now.

I’m tagging this post naval-gazing. I apologize that you had to read it, but I really had to write it.


Get the Horrible Out

Last night, at a write-in, I offered a piece of advice that made me stop and listen to myself. My fellow writer is 30 pages behind on her script, and really struggling to focus. At one point, in near despair, she cried out, “This is horrible!”

Trying to encourage her, I said, “You can do it. You just have to get the horrible out until the good stuff comes.”

Man, oh man. Is that tough or what? I think in any art, the practice seems so mundane.  It is so easy to lose sight of what is practice and what is refined art. In writing, it is incredibly difficult to write a rough draft and let it be rough. Most of us are also avid readers, inner editors who cringe at the sight of a misplaced modifier.

But that’s not the point. The point, especially in a contest like Script Frenzy, is to get the words written. To meet the page every single day, whether the writing is horrible or brilliant. To push ahead through the horrible until the tiny light of a beautiful story appears, and then to mold that draft – over and over – until it becomes brilliant.

The thing that scares me is that I know I have a lot of horrible in me. I also know there is a lot of good buried in there, under the horrible. Am I willing to put in the work, to get the horrible out in order to find the brilliant?

Do you have something you are shying away from, because you know your first attempts will be horrible? Go do it. Get it out today, and you’ll be that much closer to finding the brilliant.