The Blog of Author Robert K. Lewis

And… DONE!

80,058 words in ninety days. Did 5K yesterday to finish up by my self-imposed deadline.

First draft complete!

It’s such a great feeling, finishing up that first draft. It’s in horrible shape, sometimes feeling less like a story and more like a Frankenstein monster with loose stitching and patches, barely holding together. When I write a first draft, I just put my head down and bull my way through, trying not to look back. I rarely edit any part of it as I go, wanting instead to just get it out of me and down on the page. I always try to remember as I write that it’s okay if it’s not perfect, that it’s the “down” draft as Anne Lamott put it so well in her great book, Bird by Bird. Get.It.Down.

Now it’s time to fix it up. I’m finding, the more that I write, I’m really beginning to enjoy and appreciate the editing process more and more. I actually now look forward to editing, and have to force myself to let the draft sit for awhile, so it can percolate a bit. You know, get a little yellow in its varnish.

It got me thinking, too, about writing to a schedule. If you’re lucky enough to get a book deal, and you’re writing a series, you’ll be expected to churn out a book a year or thereabouts. Writers write, as I love to tell people. When I started this draft, back on January 27th, I had figured to finish it by May 15th, but once I got about half way, I figured I wanted to shoot for May 1st or so instead (I love a challenge!). That’s why I did the 5K words yesterday. I actually did 10K over the last three days of the draft, wanting to keep that momentum building through the climax. And you know what? It totally worked, the end has a really nice structure to it, a strong sense of story movement.

Now I get to go and recharge the batteries before I begin the editing process. Lots of guitar playing, reading, and gardening. And now I can also focus a bit more on my telecaster project.


10 responses

  1. JimmyK

    Rewriting makes me violent in the head, lol. Kudos to you for (GASP!) looking forward to it. I hope Il get there somday or even better become one of them “first draft wonder” cases. (Do they even exist?! Probly not!)

    05/03/2010 at 6:33 pm

  2. lol, I always dreamed of being a guy who could pop out a first draft that was basically clean, but yeah… I don’t think they exist. A creature of myth!

    05/03/2010 at 8:44 pm

  3. Congratulations! That is quite an achievement. 🙂

    I may have to try that “writing to a schedule” thing. With the first MS, it was no problem getting finished, but now that I have a blog, am on Twitter and am still revising #1 from time to time, things are different for #2.

    05/03/2010 at 10:33 pm

    • It totally works for me, but I’m wired to like it, I believe. The knowing that the draft deadline is X days away really keeps a fire in my belly, and at my feet. Keeps my butt in the chair on days I’d rather be doing something else.

      05/03/2010 at 11:19 pm

  4. A huge congrats!! That’s totally awesome, and not only that, incredible impressive to have cranked it out in so little time. Maybe someday I’ll manage it, but unfortunately it seems to take me 9 months to get it out.

    I too like editing. It feels like the hard part is behind me. : )

    05/03/2010 at 10:46 pm

    • But your process is very different from mine, isn’t it? Don’t you edit as you go? So your first draft is really like a first and second all mashed together. Or, er… something like that, lol.

      05/03/2010 at 11:20 pm

  5. Congrats, dude.

    When I first started writing I fucking hated rewrites. Now they’re my favorite part of the process. It’s like finding an old beater in the junkyard and knowing there’s something special underneeath the oxidized paint and dented fenders and cracked upholstery: all you gotta do is bring it out.

    05/04/2010 at 3:21 am

  6. Thanks. And thanks for stopping by, sir. The enjoyment of rewriting sorta crept up on me over the last couple years, and I think came to fruition during the last rewrite phase I worked on with my agent. Her notes gave me just enough direction for me to start looking at the rewrite process in a whole new light.


    05/04/2010 at 3:19 pm

  7. Congrats on the finish. It’s always refreshing to get the first draft under your belt.

    Like you, I love editing. LOVE it. There is something so wonderful about tweaking the magic of the first draft into something polished.

    Nice goals, ya got there. Kudos for sticking to it.

    05/12/2010 at 1:51 pm

  8. Thanks, Cat.

    As it turns out, now I’m a tad under the gun on the rewrite, so… lol… um, one more set of goals comin’ up! 🙂

    05/12/2010 at 5:23 pm

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