Okay, let’s face it. First drafts, especially rushed, Novel-in-November-ones, are bad. Even if you are an extreme planner, rough drafts are just that, rough.

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Very. Rough.

So far, in my rough draft,

  • I created a character I no longer need and therefore needs to be edited out
  • None of my descriptions match up (I’m pretty sure a cotton field magically becomes a forest)
  • I can’t seem to get my pacing down
  • A character I need the reader to care for has had no ‘screen’ time
  • My main character keeps acting out of character (not shy girl acting shy)
  • I can’t figure out if my characters are friends before the novel starts or were just classmates
  • I feel like NOTHING IS HAPPENING
  • Lots and lots and lots of other stuff.

Basically, it’s awful. Maybe it will be better when I reread it, but I don’t think so!

Maybe you’re like me and you are cringing as you write and the sidebar of your document is littered with comments and questions. The characters are weird, the plot is a maze, there are things missing, there are too many things, on and on.

But that’s the beauty of rough drafts. The great thing about writing. It can all be fixed. It might be hard and time consuming and mentally draining, but you can fix it. No matter how bad the rough draft is, the next draft will be better. And the next will be better still.

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Isn’t that awesome?

I love knowing what I am currently writing can be fixed. It really takes the pressure off. If you can’t find just the right word, or whether the car should be blue or red, or if your character is realistic, you can just make a note and move in. It’ll wait for you to get back to it! It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time

I repeat: The first draft does not have to be perfect.

So as you write this November, don’t get discouraged if you’re rough draft is so messy it’s unrecognizable as a coherent story. It can be fixed. What can’t be fixed are blank pages. So keep writing!

Good writing and happy Thanksgiving, fellow writers!