I am about halfway through writing my first book.
And believe me, I am not bragging.
Last week I was almost finished. I printed out my first draft, snapped a picture of the papers as they piled out of the printer, and uploaded it to Facebook hashtagging the post with #firstdraft #almostDONE.
So I sat down at the table with a pen and coffee, ready to tackle spelling and grammatical errors, and maybe cut some sections then rewrite a few. This beautiful cafe latte experience (okay, it was Great Value Breakfast Blend with the drop of the milk leftover after the kid’s tore into the cereal this morning) well, it was not what I expected.
My first draft is utter crap.
No joke, it smelled worse than my husband after Taco Tuesday and that’s bad–really bad.
Having done my research, I know that many authors end up practically rewriting their whole first draft, but for some reason I thought I might surpass that.
Wow. Who do I think I am?
I am a new author. I write for two local publications that my mother in law takes pictures of and posts on Facebook to brag to her friends, but otherwise, my name is scarce in the world of print. I made good grades while in college and my professors (also my mom) think I am a good writer.
Upon reading my first draft, I seriously question why those professors didn’t steer me in a different direction, like back to high school to learn how to write. Not my mom, though, because she thinks I am good at everything.
Truth is, when I started cutting out huge sections and one entire chapter, it kind of felt like I was cutting straight into my heart, and I wondered if I could ever meet the standards of this industry I am trying so hard to get into.
But then I remembered everything I read from successful authors and realized my insecurities were normal. Once I realized I am not alone, the delete button started to free me as I hit it. I am free to create something better, and each missing section was an opportunity to build on that.
If you’re writing a book, you might feel that way too. Let me fill you in on a few things I have learned.
- Writing a book is not glamorous. Most days showering is optional and it’s one I opt out of unless it’s indoor pickup at my kids’ school.
- Writing a book involves much more than writing, but in the end, you do have to write it. Distractions are easy to fall into–especially as a writer. Keeping a social media presence is important but watching dog videos is not important. Except that informational one about obsessive compulsive disorder in canines where I discovered my boxer’s constant licking might be a psychological problem. Overall, though, it didn’t benefit my writing.
- I might feel like an amateur but I have to own this journey. Even though I am now only halfway through my first book, and the other half I just deleted because a lot of it sucked, I will reach the finish line and with my head held high.
I am a writer, and once I weed out the crap and cut myself a little slack, I am a darn good one at that.