Drafting sucks. I’ll always be a person that shines in revision, and a part of that is because I love revision. It’s so satisfying to watch the Hot Garbage Mess that is my zero draft become something I actually want to share once I’ve done some wordsmithing. But to get to that revision, I still have to draft. I can’t fix what isn’t there.
I don’t think I’ll ever like drafting, but I’ve finally found something that makes it bearable—or at least, what holds me accountable:
More specifically, talking about my draft on twitter, and even posting snippets from scenes as I write them.
I know some writers are already recoiling in horror. I have friends that jealously guard their first drafts like a dragon guarding a hoard of gold, and when I ask to read it, they basically spit fire and are like “NO, STAY AWAY, AVERT YOUR EYES.” When I’ve suggested that they share snippets of their work on twitter they act as if I’ve asked them to eat their own limbs.
I get it, because I’m totally like this. I never want to share my first drafts—or my second drafts. BUT. The trap I fall into is that if I’m the only one that sees my first draft, I’m the only one that knows if I give up on it.
So right now, I’m doing an experiment.
For the first time in my life…I’m talking about a WIP as I write it. I’m not waiting until it’s done and shiny. I’m talking about even if it’s still in its hot-garbage-mess phase. I created a hashtag called #ElementalWIP for every time I post a snippet or I talk about it. Don’t get me wrong, every time I post something my internal voice is screaming “NO, STOP IT, IT’S TERRIBLE YOU HAVEN’T EVEN FINISHED YET WHAT ARE YOU DOOOIINGGG” but once I hit send it’s already out in the world. And seeing people respond to my WIP has been wonderful. It gives me the encouragement I need to help the words flow.
It’s a reminder that the voice in my head isn’t always right. I’ve already posted a few snippets featuring my character Elias, my doofy guard of the elemental Time Court. Even if many of the snippets I share end up being cut in later revisions, sharing them holds me accountable because now that I’m talking about the WIP, I feel like I at least have to finish it.
I don’t know if this will work for you. I don’t know if I’ll finish #ElementalWIP and then have a moment of intense regret and delete all the tweets about it. But for now, it’s helping a ton. And let’s be honest, I’m always down for anything that gives me an excuse to spend more time on twitter.