I usually reply along the lines of, “Not much. I need to do some rewrites. But, I’m trying to get the draft done on this other one first.”
This is usually grumbled about by my lovely husband, asking why I can’t finish one project before working on the other one. Mentions of making money at my craft are also stated. And while that would be nice, I realize that he is not a writer, so I try not to take his grumblings too seriously–he doesn’t understand the creative process, even after being around me for seven-plus years, during which I’ve written at least 3 whole novels and started at least 5 others.
His latest tirade (maybe too strong a word, but at the time, it usually seems that way!) led me to write this post.
Non-writers very, very rarely understand the processes we writers go through. They very rarely realize that the first draft is just that–the first in a process. Unless we’ve been writing for years and have been published numerous times, we can’t just whip up a draft and shoot it off to our agent-du-jour. It must go in the drawer (or for me, into the depths of my trusty flash drive) for a while before taking it up again to view the draft with fresh eyes and begin to perfect and tweak it.
And, even when we think we’ve got it done, we need to have another person review our work–whether that’s in the form of a critique partner/group, an editor, or agent. From that point, there may be further rewrites, even such things as chopping characters, adding scenes, deleting sub-plots, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
If only our friends and family understood half of what we go through. All they usually see is the finished product (sometimes not even that), and they can read that in a few hours. They don’t get the fact that we spend months, sometimes even years laboring over that work that takes them an afternoon or a day to read.
As I write this, I’m wrapping up the first draft of my science fiction project. While it’s been fun, and my normal process is to jump right into the initial rewrite, I’m actually looking forward to picking up my present-day mystery/romance and working on what I believe is the fifth draft. I lost count after number three, and it’s been a long time since I’ve spent any time on it–probably before the birth of my daughter last fall. With some luck by this time next year one or both of these projects will be well enough put together that I’ll be confident in sending them off to an agent or three again.
Then my husband will be happy. At least until I start the process over again.
Until next time,