I have been having a hard time finishing my second novel - this isn't news to anyone. I open my Drive document, re-read the last few paragraphs, scribble down where I want the chapter to go, and then just open some tabs and do anything besides write.
When I do write, I keep thinking my writing is terrible. I want to go back and fix all the mistakes I've made. I feel like I can't go forward with my writing until it's perfect.
This has been a huge problem for me in the past. Even with academic writing, I would go back and edit the paragraph I'd just finished before moving on. While this writing style can be okay, it's not when you feel like your first draft has to be perfect.
Then this weekend I watch a silly Netflix movie called Set It Up. In the movie, the one of the MCs is having a tough time writing an article. She keeps stopping and thinking her draft is crap. Then her roommate says something along the lines of, "Of course it's crap. It's the first draft."
I just sat there and blinked. This silly romcom had made a valid point. My first draft doesn't have to be gold, it just has to exist. I can edit it into a good book, but I can't edit anything unless it's written.
So, I'm going to treat the next two weeks like it's NaNoWriMo. I'm going to focus on spewing out 1600 words a day until my first draft is done. It doesn't have to be perfect. Hell, it doesn't even have to make sense.
I just need the words so I can edit them into a book.
Keep writing, friends. Just get those words on paper. Editing can come later.
Sarah Emily Lelonek