While I think pre-writing planning is extremely helpful. And I know with my current novel, it's made all the difference in helping me craft well-rounded characters and giving me an idea of their motivations. I've also already charted out some of my most important scenes and have a good idea where everything is heading.
But at some point, all that is not enough. At some point, you have to sit in the chair with your computer and just write.
And the first draft will probably be bad. That's okay. It happens to all of us. The important thing is pushing past those feelings of, "Oh my goodness. I have to delete this whole thing. Give me some chocolate," toward feelings of "Well, this is at least tolerable," toward a moment (perhaps far in the future) where you think, "Hey, this isn't half bad."
Michael Hyatt posted as his Facebook status tonight: "Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination."
Isn't that so true? When I read that, I thought to myself, "What a perfect way to phrase what I wanted to write my blog post about."
I have a problem. I like things well-done. Very well-done. So well-done that sometimes it keeps me from jumping toward the thing at all. But think of it this way. A poorly-written first draft can be edited. An unwritten story is of no benefit at all.
But what has God said of that? Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." Take a second to let that soak in to your heart. When God calls us, He equips us. Sometimes He only gives us the tools we need for that next step of the journey, when we'd really like to have them all at once. But He knows how much we can handle. And the important thing is, the work He is doing in us is a good thing. It is a process. We do not step out in faith and suddenly arrive at spiritual perfection, and in the same way, we do not start writing and suddenly materialize a perfect story. But somehow, after many afternoons of sitting at the kitchen table alone and writing, or many late evenings filled with only the light of our laptops, we find a story. One that really sparkles and goes on to touch the lives of many.
So here's the thing. Keep writing.
How do you combat those, "My story stinks" blues that inevitably come at the beginning or perhaps the middle of your story?
Photo from http://www.kineticfountains.com/articles/selecting-the-right-pond-fountain/