The 5 Stages of Not Ditching Your Draft Novel #Writer #AmWriting


The urge to ditch a half finished or a pereceived stinky draft can be a stressful situation for a writer.

There are several stages:

  1. Emotion. It has been a couple of weeks since you decided to ditch your beloved draft novel. There were too many things wrong with it; a sagging plot, bad grammar and some poorly executed plot twists. You only liked half of the characters and if someone asked you to sum up in a sentence what your book was about you would go silent and assume the ‘rabbit in headlights’ writer look. In the middle of a tearful creative tantrum you decided to ditch it. It wasn’t worth saving. So here you are, novel-less, with sore eyes (you have cried into your pillow most nights) and feeling absolutely drained (that emotional support help line has never received so many of your late night calls).
  2. Awareness. You try to keep yourself busy; sending emotional emails to your long-suffering writing friend,  tweeting sad stuff and pinning ‘farewell’ images on Pinterest. During your 100th email, of the week, to your long-suffering writer friend, you become aware of a little voice inside your head saying “save it, don’t ditch it!”.
  3. Denial. You rise from your chair, furiously shaking your head. Your draft novel cannot be saved as that would mean you would have to dig deep and find some inner writer strength that you don’t currently possess. Its been hard letting your draft novel go and if truth be told you have not been able to stop thinking about it ever since you ditched it. Telling the characters in your head that they had to leave was painful. However there is nothing you can do. It’s over. Sometimes draft novels are not meant to be. It was 80,000 words of literary wrong.  Cue your loud wail!
  4. Soul Searching. You enter major ‘soul searching’ mode and start asking yourself questions like “was it really that bad?” and “its only the second draft, do you think you jumped the gun a bit by ditching it so early?”  You quickly bang out 50 heartfelt emails to your poor long-suffering writer friend titled “HELP ME!” and “I AM LOSING MY MIND!” and “I MAY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE!” There is no reply from your long-suffering writer friend but you assume they are working through your emails.  At 3.24am you wake and cry out loudly “I have to finish it!” – cue the groan from your loved one, who has just about had enough of your literary drama.
  5. New Dawn. You sit at your laptop and take a loud sigh. Its time to dig deep! You are going to save your draft and not ditch it. You have made your long-suffering writing friend aware of your situation and they have mailed back saying that they are emotionally exhausted. Before you start typing you quickly check Pinterest and weirdly the first image you see is the quote:
‘Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts, you need to start somewhere.’
Anne Lamott.

Don’t be so hasty to ditch those drafts writers!

Take care out there 🙂


Photo: Stocksnaps

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

47 thoughts on “The 5 Stages of Not Ditching Your Draft Novel #Writer #AmWriting

      1. 😉 And you me. I often have to remind myself as I have told you, that Stephen King took 40 years to write and publish Under the Dome, with MANY false starts to it. Sometimes AG just looks like a gloppy mess of words. I get so far only to look back and think, “man I have to cut out a whole lot back there too…” Some stories purr like kittens while others cough and gag like old croons in witch hunter stories. Sigh…

  1. I was o the verge of ditching my NaNo project on Sunday, and have been the same ever since. This post is exactly what I’m going through. Sigh.

  2. I ditched a couple of novels, but my best friend believes all stories are worth saving and has encouraged me to decide to go back and try to reanimate the dead corpses of said novels. haha

  3. Reblogged this on Helen Treharne and commented:
    I love this blog, not least because I find myself relating to almost every post. I remember the first draft of my first Sophie Morgan book and thought this isn’t right, it doesn’t work. Then I took a break and after some time out things fell into place and after around the third draft I had something I was really happy with. I’ve also many failed starts to other books. Some of these won’t ever be finished, some probably just need time to grow and develop, others might be fodder for completely new projects. The emotional journey of finishing that draft and realising that it isn’t where it needs to be is something I suspect all writers can relate to.

  4. I think one of the best solutions is to send the draft to someone you trust via e-mail and just ignore the notion for a week. By week’s end if you want it back, just have them send it. If not, you can move on to your next project. Either way you know your friend still has the draft and make sure they don’t delete it.

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