Third draft’s a charm?

"Stipula fountain pen" by Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterioderivative work: InverseHypercube - Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Stipula fountain pen” by Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterioderivative work: InverseHypercubePower_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

With the lunch of my first novella behind me, I thought I was prepared to start writing my new book. I had it all: the ideas, the characters, the places, the motivation… I even had a reasonably big mind map for most of them, so I thought I was thoroughly prepared. But then, for some reason I kept postponing the actual writing. Every excuse was good enough not to write and I found myself looking a bit too much at Twitter feeds and whatnot.

I ended up starting something smaller. I had this idea for a short story jotted somewhere for a while now and I thought to myself that maybe the problem was I wasn’t prepared to commit to a bigger story. I even wrote the hook in ten minutes. And then I just sat there, staring and the blinking cursor, not knowing how to continue the story. I was so undecided that I ended up writing three drafts of the first chapter and only now do I feel like I might be on the right path.

For the first two drafts I just thought to myself that this idea I had was no good and—worse still—I would be one of those authors that launches one book and then just can’t write anymore. But this is silly because I decide what I want to be, not my insecurities. And I want to be a writer. So, I work every day for that goal. And if my first draft isn’t good enough, I put it aside, try again and write. And if that second draft is still utter crap, I roll my sleeves up and give it another go until I’m satisfied with it.

It was Tchaikovsky who said “a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.”

I’m not saying I’m a great artist, just that I understand what he wrote. We can’t wait for inspiration to grace us, so I didn’t when I first started writing my first book. Had I waited for my muse, I would be still dreaming of being a published author.

And now, I am.

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