Sunday, July 17, 2011

Writing the First Draft: Don't Look Back

Yesterday I completed the 250th page of a my projected 350-page novel. This had a sort of milestone feel to it, so this morning, instead of working on page 251 as I knew I should, I decided to reward myself by flipping through the pages completed thus far. Result?

Artist's rendering of my expression after perusing the pages of my work-in-progress
Allow me to share with you some of the thoughts of my inner critic.

"Wow. That opening sentence will grab approximately no one."
"Excellent scene! If only you had written it in English."
"You do understand the concept of a timeline, right?"
"This is a novel, not a run-on sentence competition."
"The logic flow in this chapter is impeccably flawed."
"Is there a cliched expression you haven't used yet?"

Fellow writers, if you're in the middle (or beginning or near the end) of your first draft, do yourself a favor: Do not look back. Keep going until it's finished. There will be plenty of time afterward to make whatever changes are needed to silence the inner critic. But if you let that critic get to work too soon, it becomes all the more difficult to carry on.

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