Lamar Giles
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First Draft Blues…

It’s been a relatively good writing year for me. Scored a top-notch agent, my novel is currently out on submission with major publishers, and I’m deep into a new novel.

Well, that last part isn’t that good. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

If you’ve got romantic notions about being a writer, you oughta know that there’s nothing romantic about an 80K word novel when you’re less than halfway done. I don’t know a writer who doesn’t hit the mid-point of a long project and start to question their ability to pull it off. That’s where I am now. I like to call this emotional trek the “First Draft Blues”.

My new project seems so ridiculously big that I’m tempted to scrap it every day.

When I’m at my desk.

Still writing.

That’s the point. It’s always the point. KEEP WRITING.

Through the doubts, or the boredom, or whatever. Here’s how…

Have a routine

You’ve heard this before, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re just hardheaded (as my mom would say).

If you commit to a set time each day, then all you have to do is sit down and put some words on the paper. Doesn’t matter if they suck. Just know that if you sit down enough times, eventually a book is born.

Set small goals

Word count. Page count. Chapters. Whatever works for you, set a small goal. Something you can accomplish in a single sitting every time.

Me, I shoot for at least 3 pages a day. If I can do more, great. But, I rarely do less. Do the math with me. 3 pages x 10 days = 30 pages. That’s 90 pages a month. Or a novel in 4 months give or take a few days.

If you’ve been struggling for years to write a single novel, maybe you should try adjusting your goals into smaller manageable chunks.

Keep your mind on the Big Picture

Writing is hard. Sitting around talking about writing doesn’t make it any easier. If you follow this blog regularly, then you know I often refer to writing as The Job. That’s what it is. Work. And here’s what I mean about Big Picture…

Why would a major publisher waste time and energy on a writer who can’t produce through depression/boredom/heartache/grief/distractions or anything else that contributes to the First Draft Blues?

If you make it through the FDBs, guess what? Second Draft Blues. Third Draft Blues. Fourth Draft Blues. Poor Sales Blues. Bad Review Blues. Lackluster Contract Blues. Cancelled Contract Blues.

If you ever get The Job, you’ll face some or all of the above Blues. Might as well get used to working through them now.

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