Well, the honest-to-goodness truth is that I am now in full possession of a shitty first draft, authored by yours truly. I can indeed vouch for its shittiness. In fact, I had to dig down deep to pull out such a heaping load of crap, but I did it.
Things I know:
1. It is not the best first draft ever written.
2. It is not the worst first draft ever written.
Congratulations to myself! I have achieved my life-long goal of absolute mediocrity.
All in a day’s work, my friend. (Actually, like 100 days’ work, but who’s counting?)
Ok, then. Do you want to know something that is absolutely devastating? After you write a shitty first draft, you have to write a slightly less shitty second draft, and then keep revising and revising until you die or the world ends, whichever comes first. I mean, I technically knew this before I started the process but I don’t think I really knew knew it, you know what I mean?
I have heard people say that 80% of the work of a novel takes 20% of the effort, leaving the last 20% of the work with 80% of the effort.
What in the name of all hell?
I call that a very bad system. And if you’re telling me that this draft I just did was only 20% of the effort I’ll eventually have put into it, then – well, you can just take that 80% and stick it somewhere extremely uncomfortable, thanks very much.
Ok, ok, fine. If I’ve come this far I guess I better slog on to the finish line. Kidding! I’m thrilled!
But here’s the thing about the second draft. In order to achieve it, you have to read your first draft. You can’t just write the shitty first draft and then move along with your life feeling excellent about yourself. You have to experience your own terribleness first-hand and then try to make it better.
There is so much wrong with this that I can’t even get into all of it here, but suffice it to say that reading your own first draft is a fate I would not wish on my worst enemy. Maybe that’s and exaggeration (yes), but you see my point.
You always do because you, Internet, are my truest, dearest friend.
So! Onward with revisions – it’s been painful so far, but it’s going to be worth it! (Right?)