Why Your Second Draft Is About Holding On & Letting Go #MondayBlogs #Writers


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…

Holding on:

  • 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.


Letting go:

  • 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!

Photo: Stocksnap

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Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

35 thoughts on “Why Your Second Draft Is About Holding On & Letting Go #MondayBlogs #Writers

  1. I swear I cried tears of blood when I got the notes from my editor on my first draft!! After I died and was buried… things became clearer. I quickly kicked Lucifer in the teeth and rushed back to fix my books. I swear, editing can LITERALLY save your life. Gotta let go and take it seriously!

  2. Second draft often means moving chapters around. My last book I ditched the first chapter altogether. Now I am considering turning it into a play and find I need to lose some characters altogether. Don’t know if I’ll manage it. Still, it would keep me busy!

  3. My second draft is more of a rev 1.5 as it consists mostly of moving a few chapters around, culling terrible dialogue and dragging scenes, and possibly cutting a character. Then I send it out for alpha reads. and wait. and wait… Then descend into a puddling mass of quivering goo when I find out exactly poorly I fixed draft 1 and exactly how hard draft 3 is going to be.

    1. It’s not easy is it! I am rewriting my first draft (which beta readers liked but I didn’t 🙄) so I could be faced with the interesting situation of ‘we preferred your first draft’ at which point my eyes will bleed! Your situation sounds as interesting as mine 😉

  4. But, the best thing about a second draft is that it’s even better than the first because of all the great feedback you’ve had to make that story of yours even better. Just wait till you get to the ‘just before publishing stage’. 🙃🍾🎂 cake, lots of cake….

  5. I always have to have my books pried from my arms even after constant re-editing. I really am going to try to get my mystery out by spring. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put it down for months. This time will be different. Thanks for making me feel I’m not alone.

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