Thursday, October 10, 2013

Finish Your Book

Are you a paralyzing perfectionist? I recently had an amazing bookish conversation with a writer I very much admire and was reminded of just how horrifying perfectionism can be.

Now don't get me wrong, a good dose of repeatedly going over our prose has its purpose. In fact, had I been a bit more of a "perfectionist" instead of an "I'm sure everything is just fine" kind of person, I would probably not be trying to remedy the particularly vexing situation in which I currently find myself (more on this in a later post!)

Yes, being perfect has its place!

When you've FINISHED your first draft.

IMHO, the first draft is no place to be looking backwards and fixing mistakes. If you start looking back, you may find yourself mired in the weeds of typos and passive verbs forever! For me, I write the whole thing first. Beginning to glorious "The End"

Only then can I go back and make it better.

Keep Moving Forward! There's no other way to finish.


  1. Yes and no, for me. If I notice a gaping hole, or have an epiphany in the middle of Chapter 17 of how I can change things in Chapters 3, 5, and 8 to make everything flow more smoothly, I have to go back and fix/change it RIGHT THEN, or else it nags and me and I fret over it, and the rest of the first draft is a nightmare. But in order to make that work, I've had to train myself to go back and ONLY change the immediate issue, and not pay attention to anything else.

    My first draft usually ends up being my second draft by the time I'm finished with it. But that works for me, and I know it's not for everyone. I also know it's not the most efficient way of going about it! But I've tried it the other way - going straight through without going back at all - and that method almost inevitably kills the book for me. I just can't make it work.

    But yes, DEFINITELY don't let yourself get mired in the little details at any point in time of the first draft! That's another sure-fire way to kill the book.

  2. Great reminder. I suppose that's one of the benefits of doing NANO. You aren't tempted to go back.

  3. This is my year of prep work and I'm hoping to have a complete book in me next year for November. I will take this advice to heart; I think it's well-heeded. Write the heart, then go back and do the editing, but get something down.