Writing Achievement: My Draft Sucks Less Than When I Started!

Although marshmallows and adorable pets aren't super relevant, this is where I sat as I realized my achievement.

Writing a novel is hard. Revising a novel is even harder. This, I knew. One thing I didn't know is that it actually does get easier. The first half of my novel needs a lot of work. Yellow highlighter covers more lines than not, and barely-legible notes are crammed between them. As a result, I've been lazy.  Sometimes I'll throw a guilty glace at it, sitting there on my bedside table, but most days I don't even touch my novel, much less read it or make any progress. I really thought I was doomed to trudge through re-reading, taking notes, and re-writing my novel for all eternity.

But tonight, something magical happened. I was sitting in front of the fire with Archer and Boris. Boris was seriously considering whether he wanted to sit directly on my manuscript or try and attack my pencil as I wrote. Archer was pretending to watch my progress, but I think he really just wanted a marshmallow. Everything started out as usual, with heavy editing and frequent sighs. Then, at the end of chapter 13 of 23, I found myself highlighting less often; more and more sentences were at least acceptable. Instead of reading like a screenplay or a video game, it actually felt like I was reading a book. I actually drew a smiley-face when I started reading chapter 14. I feel like my writing really just improved out of nowhere, and it is a great feeling.

This is what keeps me going. This feeling motivates me to keep going. It's the feeling that not only have I created something, but that it might actually have the potential to be good. At first, it really felt like I just had a 200-something page case of word vomit. This feeling reminds me of the times when I was still writing the rough draft, and suddenly the story would just take shape. The characters would take me in a direction I had never seen coming, or the picture of a new world would find words and become real. It's this feeling that makes writing worth it. If you've ever considered writing, or if you're struggling to keep on writing, try to find these moments and cherish them. They will see you through the dark days of writer's block, laziness, or despair over how crappy your draft is.

Thanks for reading! Be sure and check back later this week; I'll be posting my recipe for Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake!

-Libbi Duncan, The Cornucopia Woman


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