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As I write this, I am editing the first draft of a manuscript. The idea for the book is great. The characters are wonderful. But the first draft is awful. I mean, it has good bones, but it really needs work.

For you readers out there, that might make you cringe. How can a terrible first draft turn into a book that you want to read? But believe me when I tell you, it DOES! You’ll never see this stage of things (thank God!), but when you do buy this book, it’ll be a thing of beauty and worthy of your hard earned money.

But you writers out there will understand!

ALL first drafts are terrible.

There’s no way around it. They feel like rainbows and sunbeams as you type them up, but when you sit down to look at them, you shield the screen from anyone trying to read over your shoulder.

They’re awful! And that’s the beautiful thing about them–every single last one of them is bad, and there’s a lot of relief in knowing that you’re supposed to be this bad the first time through.

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Knowing that my first draft will be awful lets me write. I don’t have to edit myself yet, or polish myself up. I just need to get that story down, see how it will work once it’s all in one piece. I’m a real plotter, but I’m still surprised by some of the layers that develop while I write, so I need to see the whole manuscript in all it’s awful glory before I can really, properly edit and turn it into something I’m willing to show my editor or agent.

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So as you write, don’t worry about whether or not you’d let this piece of writing see the light of day. You won’t! By the time anyone else reads it, it’ll be polished up and truly lovely. But right now?

Crap. Utterly awful. Own it!

It’s all part of the process. 🙂

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