I’ve had a hard time pushing through the writing of Boy, which is a novel about an Elizabethan child actor.
The more I struggle with it, the more I want to abandon it. I keep telling myself that this project is too ambitious, that I can’t pull it off, that the history is too hard.
Then I remember the first draft of The Darkness of Light.
The very first, off the top of my head draft, sucked BIG TIME! In the first 3 chapters the characters were 10 years old. Then I came to the conclusion that they needed to be older from the start in order to have a shorter story. I skipped chapters. I knew what would happen in them, but I didn’t know how things would unfold.
So instead of fighting through the hard parts, I would write (in red font) an outline of the chapter and what I knew needed to happen. Then I moved on to the next chapter and it began to flow.
By the time the first draft was done, it was completely unreadable, inconsistent, and a grammatical mess! But I loved it! And I was so excited to write the next draft.
I have to keep that in mind as I continue to write Boy. I really want to get to the part where Mathias arrives in London. So in order to get there, today I wrote some notes and jumped chapters.
Tomorrow will be Mathias’s first day in London and I’m really excited to go there with him. The rest can be dealt with later. As long as I get a shitty first draft written, then at least I have something to work with. If I abandon it, I’ll have nothing.
The Lesson: A shitty first draft is workable. Giving up is not!