At least, that’s what I tell myself when in the midst of writing a first draft. Every writer says it at one point or another: You have to write for you! Not for anyone else! But when you’re writing in hopes of one day getting published, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wondering what people will think or writing ‘for’ the market.
Unfortunately, wondering how your work will be received before it’s even written is one sure way to bloodily murder your creativity. And writing for the market is useless since the market is constantly changing.
The moment I find myself wondering about what other people might think, the self-doubt starts to clamp down hard and suddenly everything I’ve ever written seems ridiculous/subpar/amateur/why-do-I-even-bother?
So, in order to get through that first draft, I tell myself every step of the way, whenever doubt clouds my judgment – Nobody will ever see this but you. Just write what you want to write, how you see the story and don’t worry about anyone else. This is yours. Your world, your characters and if, at the end, you aren’t happy with it? Well, again, nobody ever has to see it! So chill out!
This explains why I prefer beta partners to critique partners. I’m not ready for ANYONE to see my work until I’m on the second or third draft. I know critique partners can be just as helpful and motivating when you’re trying to complete a draft, but my first draft is kind of like a big clump of clay. I had to add the water and the powder and form it into something solid that I could work with. But then, before I’m ready to show it off (because, let’s face it, nobody will be impressed by a dirty fat lump) it has to be molded into something that reflects the story in just the right way. (<-Today’s gratuitous writing analogy people. You’re welcome :)
What kind of mantra gets you through that mucky first draft?
Hope you all had a great weekend!