I have stressed a little over the last couple of weeks about my drafting processes and the progress of my current work. The stress threatened to halt the writing process altogether but I was determined not to let it.
The key is to focus on the fact that this is drafting and it doesn’t have to be perfect at this point. I just need to get the story down and sort out the problems in the next draft or revision process. The majority of what I have so far is following my outline and I have even drafted (most of) it in chronological order.
But now I am seeing the gaps and losing characters and…stressing.
To prevent the onset of writer’s block and keep the work flowing this is what I am trying:
Write. It doesn’t matter how, or whether the scenes are in order or even if the scene is in my outline. Just getting the story down however it comes to me. Previously I have written out of sequence and so I am allowing myself to write anywhere over the three books when I need to. When I get stuck, I read through the last scene I wrote and then go from there.
Any idea could be a good idea. I am exploring new ideas as they form. Given that this is a first draft they may not survive the next one but a new idea could spark a better, stronger story.
No stressing about where characters are or what they are doing when I’m not writing them directly. They are important and I should spend some time thinking about them, and I do, but not worry during the writing process as to where they were before they walked into the room. If I am relaxed about it, the more likely they are to tell me where they have been. Giving my characters space to tell their story is important. I’ll let them tell me what they think they want and I can rein them in during the next draft if required. Sometimes they surprise me in a great way and I don’t want to lose that.
Using Scrivener to arrange my scenes. I took every scene and put it into a separate document in a Scrivener binder. I have kept all three books together so that I can clearly see what I have got. As I have started writing out of order it is easy to put the scene into the right place. And with each scene listed I can see what is missing, where my gaps are and who’s POV might have slipped a bit.
Reminding myself that this is the first draft (or the Blah draft as a friend calls it). It certainly is not perfect nor should it be. It is to get the story down and test the plot and the characters and learn about them as they develop on the page. It is ok if it is crap. That is what revision is for, to clear out the exposition and better define characters and setting.
Focusing on things like the number of words still to go, or the number of hours needed until it is readable just slows the creative process down and, as it did recently, threaten to halt it. I am pleased that the words are still flowing, sometimes fast and furious and sometimes at a snail’s pace but they flow non-the-less.
Are your words flowing?