What if you can’t seem to finish writing your novel? What if you’re afraid that you’ll just have to rewrite it?
Michelle posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
I’m only 14, but I’ve wanted to be a writer since first grade. I used to just write random mini-stories whenever I felt like it (which was pretty much every other day), and I only just started getting serious about writing a novel. But I have a problem finishing stories. I come up with an idea, I do my best to develope it, and I start writing… but something happens and either I’m too lazy or I get frustrated or the story isn’t developed… I don’t know what to do to actually finish it. I think my biggest fear is that there will be too many things wrong with the first draft, and I have heard ‘Writing is rewriting’ but I think I’m scared. How can I get over it? I’m never going to finish a novel if I don’t get over this.
Randy sez: A lot of published novelists started writing in first grade and got serious about their writing when they were in their teens. So Michelle, you’re in good company.
As for how to get over the fear of having to rewrite, there are several solutions:
- Quit writing. If you do that, then you’ll never have to rewrite. But if writing is in your blood, this isn’t an option.
- Write it right the first time. I know a number of writers who get the book right the first time and never do any major rewriting — at least not until their editor gives them their revision letter. Some of these writers are best-selling authors; others are award-winning authors; I suspect some of them are both. But I’m pretty sure all of them do a lot of preparation up front — either they write outlines or they work through my Snowflake method or they do some sort of story development before they start writing.
- Grit your teeth and just do it. This is the Nike solution, and if the other options aren’t for you, then you’re going to need to learn to do this. Michelle, you’re only 14, so you have plenty of time to develop good strong teeth-gritting muscles. Don’t beat yourself up about this. Focus on the fun of writing. If writing isn’t fun, then it seems to me to be hardly worth doing. And if it is fun, then it’s worth doing well.
What do my Loyal Blog Readers think? Do you prefer writing the first draft or rewriting? Leave a comment here and let us know your opinion! Personally, the first draft is my favorite part of writing and editing comes in a distant second. So I belong to the “do it right the first time” school of thought.
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer them in the order they come in.