I've made it through the first week of writing my first draft and I'm still standing. Okay make that curled up on the sofa; but I made it which is the important part. It has not been easy. In fact I have found so many things I would rather do than actually write - these include messing around on Facebook, re-doing my website, updating my Twitter account - hell I even was tempted to do my tax returns, it was literally that bad.
It's so dumb because I have been desperate for the time to just write. I've rearranged my whole schedule so that I can use my precious energy in the morning to focus on my novel and once the time was there and I was there, all my creativity joy and desire to write just evaporated.
I sat staring at this very screen with Scrivener open and I couldn't even string a sentence together. Words made no sense to me. I felt like someone had come in and scoured out my brain, leaving me with random thoughts like "why do I need to drink so much water" and "I wonder how many butterflies there are in my garden?" I counted up to seven in case you're wondering too.
I resigned myself to the fact that I am a truly horrible writer and that maybe I should give up. Except for the fact that a) I've told everyone I'm doing this first draft so I feel accountable to actually do it and b) during NaNoWriMo I find this writing thing really easy. I can dash off my 1,667 words a day without too much of a sweat. So what was my problem?
Then I realised that during NaNo we actually go through a process of locking our inner editor into a little box - we even make a box out of paper and put a picture of our editor inside. It sounds gimmicky; but it really works. So that's what I decided to do, not make a paper box, that would have been another fun waste of time. No I decided that when I went out to my writing room I would leave the editor inside the house.
It was the trick I needed. Once I let go, stopped editing each word, each sentence, and just let myself write, it was fun and I rediscovered my joy. There were sentences I typed that made me cringe; but they got across the emotion I wanted to express and I know I can go back in the edit and spruce them up, give them the polish they deserve.
I also discovered this amazing list of ten rules for writing your first draft - ironically while I was wasting time on Facebook. I hope they help you as much as they helped me!
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about people who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.
I'm an author, disability activist, winner of the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition and The EABA for Fiction 2020 and founder of Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses (ADCI).
The Choice is available from:
Title: The Choice
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