|© Tony Campbell / Dreamstime.com|
On the bright(er) side, as of today I am exactly halfway through this current draft. I guess I could look at it as the proverbial "half full" or "half empty" glass, but either way I feel as if I've been trekking through knee-deep mud for weeks to get to this point. In other words, get me out of here.
One thing that's saving my sanity has been keeping a writer's log. Similar to when I began this second draft, I made a couple of false starts regarding what kind of log I should use, and what needed to go into it. But recently I discovered the perfect notebook. It's called FocusNotes. It's spiral-bound at the top and each page is divided into sections for different kinds of notes.
Which is precisely why I'm not a fan of second drafts. First drafts are my passion: give me a great pen, a nice notebook, and a prompt or two, and I'm out of the starting gate in record time. There isn't anything about first drafts I don't like: meeting new characters, inventing strange plot lines, traveling on paper to exotic locales and mysterious dimensions; I can handle it.
I feel pretty much the same way about third drafts, too. Word-smithing, fine tuning, polishing, making sure it all flows the way I want it to. But second drafts? Yuk. They are in my opinion the absolute worst.
Besides log-keeping, some more of my survival strategies include:
- Working to a timer in 20-mnute segments and staying completely focused during that time.
- Rewarding myself at the end of each segment with a short peek at social media, a cup of tea or iced lemon water, a walk or a simple household task.
- Working on only one chapter at a time until it is as finished as I can make it. Sometimes this means working on it for days and days, but I don't jump ahead.
- If I get any new ideas for a particular chapter after I've declared it officially "second draft complete" I put all of my notes in my log, never on the manuscript. That way it doesn't get all scribbled over and messy-looking, things that could make the manuscript appear too confusing, or make me feel I'm going backward rather than working toward reaching The End.
- Taking serious sketching and art breaks every day. Sketching and free form watercolor painting are my favorite ways to step back, recharge, and gather my thoughts.
- On the days I have a little extra time, I do allow myself to freewrite for fifteen minutes a day in a small composition book. When I do this though, I don't read any of it and just close the book when I'm finished. Reading the pages will be my big reward for completing my second draft!
Tip of the Day: Buy shoes. Seriously. Or art supplies, or a new book or journal. The only trick is you have to wait until you're finished with--you guessed it--your second draft! Until then, it's stay-in-youf-chair barefoot all the way through.