Writing Posts

Permission To Be Shit

I’ve needed this a lot lately.


Because I started writing a new book.

Granted, it’s going pretty well, considering I’ve written more in this book than I did the last two books I attempted to write (I made it to roughly 50 pages each before I tabled both of them for other projects, whereas with this one, I’m almost at 80 pages and still going strong at almost 40,000 words).

It’s been really amazing, to get back into the swing of things, writing wise, and form a routine once again (and even more amazing to actually stick with it). It’s also been pretty difficult, to try and keep up with writing practically 2,000 words a day, five times a week, with another 1,000 on Fridays (which I’ve consistently not done, which is telling for when I start a new project later this year). I’ve had a mix of sessions, as a result.

Some days, I’m checking my word count every other second, just trying to reach the minimum of what I need to stay on track. Other days, I am flying past my goal and actually have to force myself to stop writing, sometimes, if only so I can get the rest of my To-Do List accomplished. Part of this is, in thanks, to me being stubborn, and I’m giving a lot of credit to using WriteTrack, a program I’ve mentioned before.

But another huge reason, I think, is because I’ve accepted that what I’m writing is shit.

Okay, maybe not necessarily that bad, but I’ve given myself permission to let it be so, if it comes to that, if only so I can get the story down. And that’s really important, especially when you’re working on a first draft. Especially since I’m coming from editing the first book of this series, the last edits being draft…four, I think? Maybe even five? I’m forcing myself to switch from a mindset of trying to “perfect” every element within that story, so I could query it, to trying to write a brand new story–even if it’s a sequel–down once.

That’s not always the easiest switch to make, especially when you’re trying to keep up meeting word counts, to boot.

It’s almost harder when I know, in the back of my mind, that most of what I’ve already written is going to need to change or be edited, in the future. There are already elements I know I want to improve upon: increase the settling details, make the characters more realistic, figure out the nuances of the technology I’m implementing, etc. Yet if I continue trying to edit and perfect the story now, without having a full draft to work with, I’m going to run into roadblocks and get discouraged, which is a road that dangerously sets up to unfinished first drafts.

And it’s really hard to tell a story without a finished draft, first.

I’ve just been reminding myself that, no matter how “shit” this story potentially is right now, that’s kinda where it’s meant to be, right now. That’s the whole purpose of first drafts and, honestly, is one of the hardest parts of writing. Getting the story down is difficult and editing is no easier. But at least, with editing, you already have something to work with and someone to improve upon. At this point, I’m not trying to write the next bestseller. I’m trying to write consistently and get the basic plot written, being surprised by it as I go, no matter what my outline says.

With that in mind, so far, it’s going surprisingly well and with one more month to reach 80,000 words, I’m ready to see what the next 40,000 bring.


14 thoughts on “Permission To Be Shit”

  1. I’ve started to take on this mindset with my current project. It’s okay, but I’ve already created another document with notes for the next draft. Knowing that I’ll be able to use these notes and improve on the atrocities of the first draft does bring that comfort and motivation needed to finish.

    1. Oh gosh, yes! I have another document open, too, to take notes of things I already know what I want to change, so I don’t forget them, but that way, I don’t lose momentum working on the first draft, either.

      Good luck with your current project!

  2. Reading this I realized this is probably why I have never honestly tried to write a book. I am so used to writing and perfecting one piece and being done with it that I get overwhelmed and never try for anything longer than a blog post or essay. You’ve got me thinking to try this approach. Hm….

    1. I think the most interesting thing about books is that they are never really done. You can always keep editing them. It’s just about reaching a point where you love it and are ready to stop editing it, which I think is why it’s so important to just get the first draft down and then worry about making it good later. I love the quote I stumbled upon that says, “You can’t edit a blank page.” It’s definitely been a mantra.

  3. SO TRUE. My (incomplete) first draft of Book 3 is in fact mostly shit even now. I’m about to go back and rewrite large chunks of it from scratch because I was just floundering along trying to find the shape of the story on the first try.

    It’s so awesome that you’ve got such great momentum! Go go go!!!

    1. I think that’s one of the craziest realities, realizing that even authors who are kicking ass and writing/publishing these fantastic stories that everyone loves, also have to get through that first draft, too. It’s encouraging, even if it’s a little daunting, too, at times, to know that’s a reality that most writers deal with, regardless of what stage they are in, in their career.

      Aww, thank you!! Good luck with Book 3. I’m absolutely stoked to see where Amalia’s journey is headed.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! It’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately. Like you, I’m going to brand new first draft after spending a year with a 3/4/5 draft of another book I’m querying. It’s so freaking hard! Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone!

    1. Of course, thank you so much for reading it (it means more than you think). I hope that you are excited for your new first draft and are able to stay stoked about it, no matter how hard it gets. You’ve done it once and you can do it again!

      I’m rooting for you!

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