So today I hit the 150-page mark in my Work-in-Progress.
Now, granted, a lot of that is filler content and a lot of the scenes will be cut out or rewritten. But that’s the nature of writing, especially when you write as a pantser. Writing requires a lot of editing, no matter how you approach it.
A quote I like phrased the first draft as the writer’s “sin against humanity.” I forget who said this, but I always liked the idea. I also like the idea that the first draft is like a sculptor’s stone, a potter’s clay, or a painter’s paint and canvas. Without that first draft, you have nothing to work with. The first draft is just the first stage.
Now, these ideas have had to settle in my brain. I used to be resistant to all editing. I had the idea that the first draft was supposed to be perfect. When I would read through it again, I would be discouraged by all of the work I would have to do to in order to get it to the point where it was in my head. I still hate reading through my old work.
But this concept that my writing was good with the first draft started with sharing my work with friends. A lot of them would say things like “This sounds like a novel already!” and “This is really good!” All of these comments made me think that it was publishable from the first draft. Now that I think about it, I only read the best parts to these friends, so of course, they thought it was great. They got a skewed view of everything.
But by changing my thinking to believe that writing is mostly revisions has been so freeing. Granted, I am not very experienced in editing my own work and am still trying to figure out the best method for it, but it has greatly improved the fun of writing. It’s allowed me to feel the freedom to write a terrible first draft.
I am just going to write the best book I can at the moment I am writing. That’s all I can do. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be the best I can do at that moment. I can fix it and polish it up later.
But first I need content to work with.
So even though this draft is by far the longest I have ever written, that means that I have a lot of work to edit it. Whereas in my older works I have to expand, here I will have to cut.