Finished a Rough Draft?

Have you finished a rough draft of a book?

I recently finished a rough draft of chapter book for children. What a relief I felt. I finally know where the story is going, who’s in it and what happens. At least I thought I did.

But now I’m on the second draft. Working on this draft is like rearranging furniture in your house; Furniture that doesn’t all match. Maybe some is left over from your single days, some is handed down from ancestors and some acquired from marriage. At times you wish you could sell all of the furniture at a yard sale and just start over with an empty room. But you can’t afford to, especially since you haven’t made a dime from the book you haven’t yet finished.

So you arrange and rearrange your room with what you do have. You take a break and look around during the morning light. Then you look during the afternoon light and the evening light. You look at it from the front doorway, from the hall and kitchen. You move a couch from one wall to another. You move a table to the basement. You move pictures and rugs. You finally break out a glass of wine, sit, sip and just close your eyes and say, why am I doing this when I could be, exercising, planting spring bulbs in the garden, or doing anything other than dealing with this confusing mess?

But you go back to rearranging furniture. And if you’re lucky enough, you have friends who come over to see that crazy mess and help you rearrange. They’re honest friends who tell you to throw out old Auntie Gertrude’s disgusting braided rug and just shine the hardwood floors you already have. Friends who tell you that the purple throw pillows are working perfectly and don’t toss them. Friends who will break out the champagne and celebrate with you once you have it the way you want it.

As you edit your rough draft, think back to where you were when you had a folder of empty pages. That folder is no longer empty. Yes, it has some files that need tossing, like the old braided carpet, but your rough draft has a lot more that needs to stay. Pat yourself on the back. Invite the friends over who know how hard it is to finish not only a first draft but to rewrite that story until it’s ready to submit. It will happen and then you’ll be able to celebrate with friends and champagne.

Share your writing endeavors in the comments below. I love hearing from you.

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4 responses to “Finished a Rough Draft?

  1. christineardigo

    I love this analogy. I finally finished my first contemporary romance novel and some chapters were so horrible i wanted to quit. But each time I “rearranged the furniture” it got a little better. Than one day i read it and it was 100 times better. It takes time, it does, but it is very time consuming and sometimes disheartening. “Will it ever be better? Will this book ever be good?” Congrats to finishing your first draft! :)

    • Congratulations to you, too. It’s a much longer process than I imagined. I keep setting these insane deadlines for myself, like Feb vacation, April vacation or summer break (all based on my children’s school schedules). Some day :) I’m looking forward to seeing your book in print. I need a good romance to read.

  2. I love the allegory of this post! Also, your writing feels calm and not rushed, I am sure your finished piece will feel the same.

    Great post!

  3. Thanks, Janice. Glad to read you have faith that my piece will be finished. :)

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