The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the 1st time unlike, say, brain surgery.
I’ve been creating stories since before I could write. At first I play-acted everything, but as I grew older, I started finding ways to put my thoughts onto a piece of paper.
The first time I tried to write something was a movie script that I started aged (about) eleven. By the time I was thirteen, I saw myself as seriously writing. I had started my first novel then.
One would think that I’d have a ton of finished manuscripts collecting dust beneath my bed. Terrible ones. Ones that make me cringe to think of. Ones that I aim at when I kick my shoes off.
But no. In the eight years from starting to write to Doorways, I didn’t finish a single manuscript. Not one. Now, this happened for a variety of reasons (that I posted about VERY early along when I started blogging), but as I came to the point of deciding that Doorways was to be the one that I finished, I decided to do some introspection.
What really stopped me from finishing before? Sure, the fact that my mother forgot to ask me before ripping the motherboard out of my writing computer (it happened) or the destroyed stiffy disk that contained the only copy of my draft (yes. stiffy. yes. It happened. After I rewrote the mother board ms), or the fact that I willingly burned a ms and everything connected to it (yes. Did that two years before I started the blog) had something to do with it.
But that wasn’t what stopped me. I mean, yes those put some significant delays on my writing. But eight years worth? Really?
The truth was no. The only person that held me back was me. See, although I don’t have a thing for rules, I was obsessed with getting everything I wrote up to my standards. Immediately.
So instead of worrying about getting done, I got mired in the early chapters of my WiPs, tinkering with every word I just wrote until it was exactly right.
In other words, I’d taken the soul out of what I’d written before it got a chance to settle into what it’s supposed to be.
When I realized what had happened, I’d decided to do a bit of a mind-shift. I didn’t have to get everything right immediately. In fact, there’s something to be said for working all the way through first before going back to measure what should be changed and what should stay the same.
Which is why I drafted Doorways by hand. If it’s written in pen, it can’t be change until I’m ready to go back to change it. And that is probably one reason why I got so far with it at all.
I gave Doorways a chance to prove to me that it was worth my time, instead of killing it before it was really born.
So what about you? Do you edit as you write or do you finish your drafts first?