Sunday, May 9, 2010

Man did I really write this?

Have you ever read what you have written and said to yourself, “man did I really write this crap?”

I just finished about 6 hours of writing and decided to read a few chapters in the middle of my book, just to get a better idea of how to complete the ending. Man was I disappointed, I couldn’t believe how bad some of it was… how disheartening.

Have you ever had this happen to you?

The bad part is I don’t know if I can fix it. It kind of left me feeling lost or overwhelmed. I hope once I am 100% complete, I can go back and read it from cover to cover and feel better about it than I do now.

I just have this overwhelming feeling I need to start from scratch. 81k words of poorly written work can do that to you. I just feel it would be easier to write it better from word one, than trying to fix that mess.

I just don’t think I can do it all over again. The rush of nearly completing my first draft that I was feeling just hours before has vanished… wow I hope I feel better in the morning—I hope that I can forget this and move on—I just hope.

Thx for any comment you might leave—even though I have been here before… any advice helps heal the wounds of feeling inept.


  1. Don't do anything, right away. Remember what I told you about some time to think? You need a waiting period.

    If you are in the heat of writing and go back and reread AND you think it's PERFECT or you think it's HORRIBLE GARBAGE - chances are you need some perspective, some time so you're not so intimately involved with it.

    Let it sit a minimum of two weeks (I recommend longer) and then read it again. If you like NOTHING you've written still, give it more time. If you hate some parts but like other parts, then you see what you can do.

    (Yes, I have had this happen to me. If I force myself to write, it will be crap but will only be those chapters. Otherwise, though, if I think it's ALL crap, the problem is my perspective.)

  2. Don't trash, revise. There is nothing saying that you have to keep 10% of the original but it is easier to work from a completed draft than it is to start from scratch.

  3. Something is in there... you just have to sit on it, think, think, and think some more, and figure out why you wrote it.

    Then go through and highlight what you LIKE... what you think resonates in your own psyche, what you want to know more, see more, etc. That will lead you where you need to go.

    And if that means scrapping most of it, so what? Save it all in a file, and you can always go back to it some day. Nothing is ever really wasted.

  4. It happens to every writer, especially when you're just starting out.

    Sometimes you have to write 90 pages of crap to find 2 good pages and work from there.

    I highly suggest Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon (paperback).

    It's a learning process, be patient with yourself.

  5. Don't give up on it. Finish first and then you'll be able to find out what went wrong and where it went wrong. This stops you from making the same mistake twice and will help you in the long run.

  6. And it does get better. I wrote and rewrote and reworked and rebuilt my first novel a dozen times over nearly that many years. My second novel I seriously reworked maybe a third as many times. My third novel, I like the first draft nearly as much as the other final drafts.

    It gets easier and you learn. Really. Even if it doesn't feel like it. Unfortunately, the learning part can be really painful.

  7. You just have to get the first draft down. Then you can go back and revise but the important thing is just getting it down.

    You'll be able to go through and change things, cut things, add stuff, etc. It will get better and better each time you go through it. You'll do it! Just keep going. :)