Ah, that time when the words are fresh! When the story, full of wonder has been done, and there’s nothing but excitement for what’s to come. The first draft is complete, all the words planted down over the weeks, months, even years, to hopefully grow into beautiful, lovely flowers of prose that everyone will adore! This is the time when the author is full of innocence about what’s been created. Like a new born. Skin soft. That baby smell. Of gentle ooh and ahhs, and complete and utter love.
Enjoy that moment.
Because once the first draft is done, the innocence revelled in, then that’s when it all comes crashing down. That’s when the author, having basked in the glory of creating, pushing out their baby, falling in love, begins to see the reality of it all.
That’s when the editing process begins…
And if writing the first draft is innocence, the first day of school, full of hope and wonder of new things, then the subsequent drafts/editing that comes next is the gang of bullies you used to hide from behind the sports shed at school. The reality. They are brutal too. Because the words you thought, innocently, were flowers waiting to bloom, were in fact, the manure spread over infertile soil.
From that manure, beautiful things can and do grow. Have the innocence, enjoy the wonder. That’s what writing is about. But also expect the gang of bullies. The ones who will help you kill your darlings, so to speak. Enjoy them too. They are there to help you, after all.
Because writing is such a positive and negative process, it hurts and heals. But from all of the chaos, you must do one thing. Forgive yourself. Forgive your first draft. Forgive your second and third ones too. Forgive all you have done, because yes, from it all you have written a story. And it is your story. One that grew from innocence to become the wonder it will be after everything else has been fought for and against.
And if you don’t succeed, forgive yourself for that too.
There’s always the next story!