The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. ―Terry Pratchett
People often ask me what my favorite part of writing is (answer: staring out a window and coming up with an idea!) but rarely ever ask me what my least favorite part is.
Well, no one has asked, but I have a newsletter, so I’m going to tell you: The First Draft. It’s such a slog—day after day of writing toward an ending that feels like an island that’s still out of sight on the horizon. I write on, hoping that my calculations were correct and that I’m coming close to the island, but fearing that I’ve gone terribly astray and might get taken down by a Scylla.
I know some people love a first draft, and I understand why. This is the point at which the real writing happens; when you truly get to know your characters and explore moments. I love that, too. I just wish there wasn’t so much of it.
I’m thinking about this because November 1 marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, which features a challenge to write 2,000 words a day every day through November 30. I know a number of people tackle this challenge, but I never have. For some people, it’s just the kick in the pants that they need to finish their draft. For me, it’s just a little too much pressure on top of a task that already feels pressured.
However! I’m planning to celebrate National Novel Writing Month my own way, by writing every single day of the month. It won’t necessarily be two thousand words every day (although it might be two thousand words some days), but it will be daily writing, and it will be a celebration!