I received an email about cutting out dead-end things from your life and one of the tips was not finishing things that aren’t working.
I couldn’t disagree more, at least when it comes to first drafts.
A writer often feels like things aren’t working. Or, like me, the draft is good fun and you’re feeling great, but you’ve got 60,000 words and you’re not even halfway through.
But why not just start over? You feel like it’s not going where you wanted to go, that scene or chapter isn’t working, you don’t like that character…
Power through. Your subconscious has the reins and is taking you on a ride. I know, you think rewriting is awful and should be avoided, but the fact is that rewriting is fun!
There is one problem that may take you out of the book. That’s when you write yourself into a corner. There’s little more frustrating. Here’s what you want to do. Skip it. Jump ahead to a scene you’re clear on. Nothing says you have to write sequentially. You can cherry pick your scenes and then stitch them together. In the second draft, fill in the blanks,
Push yourself to finish.
Let me tell you a story of when I didn’t finish a draft. Typically, I write on a computer, but this time, I had an hour of wait time in the mornings I had to fill, so I started writing, longhand, a western. Eventually, I picked it up on the computer, and then stopped. I don’t even remember why.
My wife and daughter loved the story. They’ve urged me to finish. I’ve found that hard to do. I’ve written five books in that time and I’m in the middle of another. In writing this, I’ve convicted myself. Maybe I will pick that up after I’ve completed The Hurricane Boys.
I’m not saying you can’t work on other projects, or that you have to write every day, but don’t give up on that first draft. It may be the start of the best thing you’ve ever written.