THE FEAR AND FREEDOM OF FIRST DRAFTS

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
[note: yes, this post is late. three days late. -.- I had it all ready to go on Friday night, but didn't have the internet to publish this until now. *sobs* It feels very odd to have this go up on a Tuesday, but... enjoy anyways! xD]

Happy eleventh day of Camp NaNoWriMo, everyone! WE'RE MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH THE MONTH! *chants* you can do it you can do it you can do it

So far my writing has been going well, which I’m stoked about. Since my mind is basically on a one-track loop around “NaNo! NaNo! NaNo!” I’m going to be talking about first draft writing today. I stalked my own blog (do people do this??) and realized that I don’t write about first drafts very often. I’ve done quite a few wrap-up posts, but they aren’t the same. So here we go – we’re talking about first drafts and allll my feelings for them. :P


(no fancy title image because of the lack of internet. AND ALSO, if I had a personal aesthetic, this picture would be it. I love the distressed white and the pop of color and the fade and chipping of the paint and squeee I could pathetically fangirl about the aesthetic of an old shed. I’ll consider that a special talent. xD)

Basically: I LOVE WRITING FIRST DRAFTS. It’s so exhilarating. There are endless possibilities and paths and characters to adore and plot twists to be written. BUT… along with those endless amounts of possibilities, there are also endless amounts of mistakes. (yaaaay) There’s that touch of fear present in the process.

Fear is an unfortunate part of life. It’s something to constantly work and strive to improve on—learning how to trust God through the struggle—but it will always be there. It’s amazing how easily fear can seep into my writing if I let it. And fear does have its place—I think it helps me look critically at my writing, strives me to do better and work harder and continue to conquer all the things—but it’s important for me to realize that this is a first draft.

It’s also important for me to realize how ridiculous a question like: what if my story isn’t good enough? is. IT’S A STUPID THOUGHT I SHOULD NEVER EVEN BE THINKING AND MUST GATHER MY TROOPS TO BANISH IT FROM MY MIND IMMEDIATELY. (to war! Attaaaaackkk!)

It shouldn’t even be a question that crosses my mind at this point, because of course my story isn’t good. It’s only a little baby right now! The plot is going to be messy. (And if you’re me, it’s very, very, very messy *shudder*) The words in the first draft aren’t going to make perfect sense for most of the time. (or all of the time. ;) 

First drafts are scary if I let them be scary. If I think about that fear of making it perfect, if wondering if this will ever be readable or if this story is “good enough,” I’m going to get bogged down. It’s inevitable, and will totally ruin that fun of writing the first draft.

Rather, I should be thinking questions like, “how can I make my story better? What can I do to improve?” So with this novel, I’m heading into Camp NaNo and writing with freedom. I love writing because I love creating and dreaming and pouring my heart onto the page. If I let the fear escape and work its way onto the page, it will start to ruin the joy of the process.


So, I’m excited about this NaNo. I’m excited about truly enjoying the story and doing my best not to think and fear about the future of it. That’s for editing and years from now. (I feel like parenting can be like an analogy to writing. [Ahem, even though I’ve never parented before.] But you have to enjoy the journey while the story is still tiny! If you focus on the fear and hardships ahead of you that’s going to ruin the adventure and process through the years.)

I’m pumped to explore characters. Explore my story. Write because I love it and it’s my passion. I can’t wait to see my characters grow and change throughout the month, live and die (AHEM), and grow friendships and fall in love and fight evil and IT’S GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN. <3

If you get stuck this month on your story, remember that you’re not the only one, and that there’s time to fix the problems later. This is a first draft, and there’s so much freedom in letting your words run free and be messy. The goal isn’t perfection—the goal is to tell the story God has placed on your heart. And that starts with many mistakes and scribbles and pushing through the disaster.

Karen Ball just posted a blog post with scripture that can help battle the writing fears. And that's a very important thing to remember -- if you hit a roadblock, you can always go to Him. He's there and has the hope that we need. (You can always shoot me an email as well and I'll be so willing to talk with you. <3)

We’ll get through this together! I wish you all the best and pray that your powerful words can come smoothly and easily.

<3,
katie grace

                How is camp nanowrimo going for you?
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

49 comments :

  1. YESSS. I love first drafts. Soooo much. *flails* I just love the freedom and the open wide doors of possibility. The whole 'I can go anywhere with this' idea. Just eep yes. So much love for first drafts.

    (seconds drafts however... >.<)

    CAMP IS GOING GREAT. I did an insane 10k-1Day thing with my cousin and it was sooo much fun. *bounces* Very impromptu also, we literally decided we'd do it at 10AM. (Well actually, she suggested it jokingly, and I took her serious and boom we were writing maniacs for the rest of the day. XD)

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    1. (HA. we... we won't talk about second draft writing. *shudder shudder*)

      AH REALLY? DUDE I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!! Eeep that's so impressive. This wasn't your first time doing 10k, right?

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  2. OH MY GOSH YES!!!!!!! This post is everything!!

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  3. I'm currently working on like, two first drafts that have been first drafts for maybe 6 months and the other one...well, less then 6 months lol. But yes, I love the freedom I feel in writing them because the plot can change at any moment and I'm just following my characters around hoping (and praying) that they know what they're doing. (Which they don't, but like, when do they ever?)

    Anyways, nice post! I liked it!

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    1. Awwh, that's so exciting! What's your current WIP about?

      Thank you. <3

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    2. I think it's a mix of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and a bit of Romance. I'm shipping it as Inception meets The Matrix but with teenagers and sci-fi experiments. 🙃

      You're welcome <3

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  4. Don't worry, I stalk my blog to (as necessary). First drafts are really fun! Second drafts are not. Micro edits are fun, too. This post is so awesome!
    I'm really happy with my NaNo progress-- this week has been a bit slow, but I hope to get back to last week's stats by tonight. This has been my happiest first draft experience so far, because of all the freedom (and fun!) I gave myself.
    ~Josie

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    1. Yay for not being the only one! xD Ew. I hate second drafts, but agree with you on the micro edits. I do like those.

      YOU CAN DO THIS!! How did the writing end up going?

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  5. This has been exactly what I've needed to hear over and over and over again. <3 <3

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  6. My favorite part of writing is seeing all of the little details come together in the end. Especially because it means I'm almost done with editing. Yess! Fear is such a big problem. It's hard to let go and really trust God's plans. Thanks for the great post!

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    1. Writing turns out to be a great learning experience. ;)
      Thank you for reading! <3

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  7. This entire post is exactly how I'm feeling right now. It's nice to see it put into words.

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    1. Awhh, yay! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one. Thank you for reading, Laura. <3

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  8. FIRST DRAFTS ARE SO FUN. All I used to write were first drafts, and they will always always ALWAYS be my favorite part of the writing process. It's such a wild crazy freedom you have with them. With rewrites, you have the rest of the document dragging you down as you rewrite a scene, but with first drafts, you don't have to think about the words ahead -- they're not there yet.

    This post was so beautiful and inspiring and is making me pine away for writing a first draft. I'll probably do one in July NaNo. For now, I'm halfway through editing my sequel. *headdesks*

    audrey caylin

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    1. YESS. It's so easy to want to just write first drafts all the time instead of taking the time and effort to edit. *gag* Oh well. With the good things come the bad things. xD

      Eeek, go you! I'll be editing for July, so we'll do a little switcheroo. :P

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  9. Seriously, I just love your posts (and how you refer to novels as babies - oh, my heart)! <3
    This post was super encouraging for me right now. I just started writing a new book last night (THAT IM SOOO INSANELY EXCITED ABOUT) and I'm also in the middle of editing the first draft of another book, so I've got all those first draft feels right now. XD
    I didn't sign up for Camp NaNo cause at the time I was in a major slump, but now I'm all like - IM ON A ROLL AND ALL I WANNA DO IS WRITE. XD
    But I wish you luck with your Camp NaNo goals! I know you'll succeed! :D
    ~Jaclynn~

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    1. Awwhh, you make me so happy, Jaclynn!

      AHHH WHAT IS YOUR BOOK ABOUT? I WANT TO HEAR ALL ABOUT IT!! *bounces excitedly*

      Awwh. That's so awesome! It's one of the greatest things ever, so I'm glad you're feeling that way. :D

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    2. OKIE I SHALL TELL YOU WHAT I CAN!! XD

      It's about a guy named Jairus who grew up in an orphanage and dreamed all his life to become a soldier of the king.
      When he turns 16 he goes to begin his training and meets a servant girl there and they quickly become friends.
      Years pass and he goes away to war to aid another kingdom and it really changes. When he comes back he proposes to the servant girl and when his general finds out, he tries to get him to break things off with her, afraid it will distract him from his duties as a soldier. Naturally, Jairus refuses.
      Then.... things happen and the girl is killed in front of Jairus and he resigns as a soldier and leaves the kingdom, he is framed for killing her, and all this crazy stuff happens and he's basically a poor, broken soul with no hope and nothing to live for. At the end, he finds hope in God and is complete in Him :)
      That wasn't the best description ever (I'm really bad at telling what my books are about XD ), but I hope it sounds interesting! XD
      ~Jaclynn~

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    3. OH MAH GOODNESS I NEED THIS NOVEL IN MY LIFE. WRITE THE THING FOR US JACLYNN, PLEASE. WE NEED THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK WILL BE AMAZING. I BELIEVE IN YOU!

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    4. Oh my gosh, thank you SO much!! You have no idea how happy this comment just made me!! :D I haven't had much time for writing lately, so I'm only a few thousand words in, but it is definitely in the works! ;D
      ~Jaclynn~

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    5. JACLYNN YOU ALREADY BROKE MY HEART JUST READING THE SUMMARY. O.O I was reading it and "awwing" over the cute couple and the proposal and then she DIES??! Dude. o.O That sounds awesome. xD

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    6. AGH!! Thanks SO much, Katie! :D I can't wait to get to all the tragedy in this book. XD
      ~Jaclynn~

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    7. Yes I'm with Katie on this one. I need this novel. Please write the thing so I can flail!!

      Delete
  10. Love the pics!
    I'm not a writer, or even a book worm. I'll read educational books, or true stories, but not fiction. It just didn't interest me to read a fake story someone made up. (But I do like mysteries!) How many books have you wrote? You're an awesome writer and should keepit up! Good luck with the rest of Nano!

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    1. Eep, thanks!

      ...You're not a writer... or a bookworm? o.O So... a question for you then -- how and why did you start reading my blog? That's so interesting. Thanks for being awesome! <3

      I've written five books! I'm currently writing my sixth. :)

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    2. your welcome!!!
      ummmm, I think I was just very new to blogging, and was on the hunt for nice people to follow! When I was younger I read all the time, and even tried to write a book, so I liked your blog, and you were super nice, so why not?? To me, even if people blog about certain things, they can still be nice, funny, encouraging, etc.
      and plus, your photography is really good! <3
      Ooh wow. that's a lot of books!! Do you have a favorite?
      Would you mind me asking where you live? We live in MO. :)

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  11. honestly ALL THE THINGS YOU POST ARE SO TRUE. especially the thing about first drafts being scary if we let them be. TBH, I think that the thing that limits me the most when I'm drafting is that I can't stand my own first-draft writing? like UGH it's the worst. (which is what actually made me trash my current camp project and start a new one eleven days in?? #whoops)

    basically, great post + that aesthetic-y picture is lovely + camp nano is interesting. XD

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    1. AWH THANKS SO MUCH. <3 You're so sweet.

      I knowww I can't stand mine either. I can tell it's improving... but it's still hard to look at it. :P (wait... what?? what project are you working on? o.o)

      AH THANKS FOR APPRECIATING MY PICTURE I'M IN LOVE. xD

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  12. Replies
    1. Awhh. And that's okay! There are always future months. :)

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  13. Ooh, yes indeed. First drafts are the best. Until they're not, and it feels like torture to write. 😁 However, luckily I'm not in that phase now!!! I looooooooooove my story and characters and ALL THE THINGS. I'm really excited about it. 👍

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    1. YAY! I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOU! That's an amazing feeling. :D

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  14. I've almost completed the first draft of my second Dawn Chandler novel! So it's going great ^_^
    I think reading alpha readers comments is my favorite part thus far :)

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    1. That's so great, girl! Can't believe you're almost done with two novels already...I'm still struggling to finish my first! But you have to let me beta read the first Dawn Chandler novel. Like seriously, I need your writing in my life. <3

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    2. Gasp, really? That's so exciting! Wow, you're just cranking along. <3

      Alpha readers are fabulous. They're definitely great for encouragement after all the rough editing. :P

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    3. Hi Musicgirl! I'll definitely let you beta read :)
      I've actually only written about 4,000 words this month it just feels really good to almost be done with this draft I've been working on for a year 😁

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    4. Hey girl! ;) btw, thanks for recommending the blog to me, I kinda love it. 😁

      YAY I GET TO BETA READ THE THING

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  15. Ahhhhhh, preach Katie!!!
    I kind of don't love first drafts but you're making me think think think.
    Good stuff xoxox
    elissa // letters-to-jayna.blogspot.com

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    1. Awwh, thank you for reading, Elissa! <3

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  16. Thank you for posting this Katie <3. I kind of needed the reminder to bring all writing anxieties to Him (and any anxiety really xD). We all need to write in the grace of God. I've been doing Camp NaNo while trying to keep in mind that as I write, it's not by my own ability or just because it's fun, but it's in worship to Him, and by His strength and mercy I get anything done. The other day I was behind like, 4-5 pages on my daily goal + I had school to do and I was like "AAHHHH How am I gonna catch up???" But God was like, "Chill I got this" and boom! I took a break and made up the lost pages in an hour and a half! I couldn't have done that! It was 100% God.
    I've been reading Psalm 71 before I write each time, and finding new things and old reminders every time. It's such a good reminder that our craft is to His glory, and because we're broken, we need Him. He's even reminding me that in my story. This is such a great journey (and even writing this comment, He's just placing peace on my heart that He's doing something here. Eeeeeep. ^_^ )
    Praying for you and your project, and I hope I get to read it someday soon!

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    1. That's amazing Heidi! Thanks for sharing that, I'm gonna check out Psalm 71 now before I start writing. :) And yes, I totally get how God can just do amazing things, it's really nice to be able to sit back and watch as He works in other people's (and sometimes our own) lives.

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    2. AWW I love that story! He's so amazing. <3

      Ooh, and I'm definitely going to read that Psalm. Thank you so much for sharing, Heidi. I'm so glad I know you because you're such an encouragement. <3

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  17. This is really good! By the way, I am an ENFP too (:

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  18. I'm feeling a little lost in my Camp Novel. I didn't have enough character foundation built up to know what's really going on with my protagonist. Also I haven't written much of length since November and I'm feeling out of practice.
    Right now I'm writing fun scenes that are going somewhere eventually but taking a long time to do it.

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    1. Oh my goodness, you're not alone! Until yesterday I felt very lost with my character but just figured out how to solve that. So keep working at it -- the answer may yet still be out there. :D

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  19. I'm not doing NaNo (as you know), but I'm still working on more thoroughly drafting this one story I've been plotting and sorta writing for the past year or so. It's been both scary and exhilarating to write this draft, and It's been cool to watch as all the pieces sort of start to fit together and form a coherent plot. I stopped writing for a while in late middle school/early high school, so getting back into it and reestablishing steady writing habits the past few years has been interesting.

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