I’m not sure what happened to my math this round, but I wound up short a sponsor. Suzan Butler has kindly popped by with some words of wisdom for y’all! Take it away Suz!
We all have different processes for getting things done. I’m currently between drafting books, which means I’m editing one, and brainstorming another. The hero for the one that I’m brainstorming is a secondary character in the first book, and one that readers so far have really connected with. And it helps that I’m in love with him.
Anyway, knowing this has added extra pressure. I’ve false started this book six times and all six times, I’ve gone back to brainstorming mode. I want readers to be happy with his story. I want it to be better than the first. I don’t want to let them down. And I know the pressure is going to get worse once the book is more widely available.
So far, it’s all been advance readers and reviewers putting this pressure on me, telling me that they love this character and want his story. But in one week, more people will read the first book, and then they’ll be sitting alongside reviewers chanting for his story. The pressure is just going to get worse. But I can’t find the perfect beginning. I want his story to be awesome.
I’m reminded of Mur Lafferty of the podcast I Should Be Writing. Every time I hear her say “It’s okay to suck” I think that she’s personally talking to me. I’m a perfectionist by nature. Subpar isn’t acceptable to me. I want everything to be perfect right out the gate.
Unfortunately, writing doesn’t work that way. That’s why there are revisions and edits and proofreading. Every book feels impossible to me because I want it to be perfect. Halfway through, it’s my sheer stubbornness getting me through, because I’m sitting there thinking about how crappy the draft is and how on earth I managed to finish the other books and how it just sucks and what was I thinking that I could do this.
We all have those days. Sometimes, it stretches on into weeks. But… little by little, word by word… we get that book done.
You are allowed to suck. That’s what first drafts are for. Take Inner Editor and shove that witch in a box and sit on it. Then get your laptop out, and start writing that next draft. That’s what I’m going to do. No more false starts. I can always come back. But as La Nora says, “You can’t edit a blank page.”
Are you a fast drafter or a revisionist? How do you give yourself permission to suck in order to get things done? Or are you like me and have to be reminded of it from time to time?