Second drafts are hard!
The best quote to sum up a second draft is from the film The Matrix (1999).
‘Buckle your seatbelt Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye!’ – Cypher
The second draft changes everything. In some cases it can lead to your first draft becoming unrecognisable.
This is the drafting stage where all hell breaks loose as you change the plot around, ditch characters, rewrite the opening chapter about a thousand times and have many sleepless nights questioning why you are putting yourself through so much literary pain. It is also a passion killer of a draft as you are forced to say goodbye to those heady, fun filled first draft days and get serious – ugh!
For me, the second draft has been total literary carnage. I am rewriting the first draft of my romance novel and the experience has left me emotional, craving coffee and looking like a shadow of my former self. I didn’t realise writing romance could do this to you.
In my view, the key to the second draft is all about holding on and letting go. Let me explain…
- You have to keep telling yourself that you will come out the other side, no matter what!
- Cling to the belief that the second draft is taking you a step closer to the completed manuscript you are trying to write. Yes it feels tedious writing the damn story again but just keep the image of the completed manuscript in sight. (Try not to tell yourself that there will be other drafts after this one though!)
- Hold onto your supportive writer friends and non-writer friends because believe me you WILL need them. When you see them in person hug them tightly (until they start to struggle!)
- Cling onto your sanity! I have come close to losing mine on several occasions.
- Hold onto the reason why you wrote the book. It will keep you going in the dark hours.
- You have to let go and say farewell to your darling first draft.
- You have to be brave and let go of any revision fears. You have to hurt your draft.
- You can let go of grammar because this won’t be the final draft!
- You can let go of characters who do nothing for you! Go on – be brave and ditch them!
- You have to let go of the ‘overnight literary genius’ dream. Chances are you are not a ‘one draft’ wonder.
- You have to embrace change and let go of how you thought things would work out in the first draft. I have really struggled with this. Letting go of your original ideas and opening your mind to new approaches in the second draft is SO DIFFICULT.
If you are currently wrestling with a second draft I feel your pain! Hang in there.
Have an amazing day!