FRIDAY NOTES & NEWS: The Second (or Third, or Fourth) Draft Blues

BY NANCY KAY CLARK

Copyright is held by the author.

HAVING GOTTEN over the hurdle of never finishing any of my writing projects (I now have quite a few completed first drafts under my belt), I’m now battling an overwhelming reluctance to rewrite. I know what has to be fixed in most of my first drafts, but for some reason I’m dragging my feet. Why? 

Some of it has to do with knowing that the really hard work begins in the second draft — all those problems, nagging questions and inconsistencies that cropped up in the first draft that I punted down the road, telling myself I’d deal with later, rear their heads. 

Some of it has to do with not knowing how many drafts I’ll need to write. Two, or three, or four, or five? When is it finished? When is it finished enough to send it to somebody?

Then there’s the fact that I have no firm deadline — no editor or publisher breathing down my neck for copy.

And then there’s my mood. By no means am I depressed, but there are some days, as this pandemic goes on and on, when I feel I don’t have the energy to do anything but binge-watch Netflix.

If any of you are feeling the same, here’s what I’ve been doing — and it’s helped. I break up the work into tiny steps — with specific goals in mind and small timed deadlines. And I remind myself, even if I rework just half a page per day, I am making progress.  What are your strategies? Email the editor: admin at commuterlit dot com.

Contributor News
Richard West‘s novel Lightning People: Discovered, Book 1 has just come out as an audio book.

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