Middle of the First Draft Blues

680 Yards of Humps by Alan from FlickrThe process of writing a book contains, beyond a doubt, the single largest hump of anything I have ever done. And by “hump” I mean “middle section that seems like an absurdly impossible climb.” I would imagine that lifelong disciplines might have similar humps. Like mastering a martial art or becoming an expert arranger of tea ceremonies. But these longer goals are broken down into smaller goals. You move up each rung of the martial art ladder, and you…I don’t know…arrange tea ceremonies for various different people getting feedback and responses from each group.

I have no idea what a tea ceremony is.

But writing a book? Writing a book consists of nothing but a year of typing. That’s it. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

And no one can really read your book as you write it. You aren’t being given feedback by your sensei or winning and losing matches to gauge your progress or seeing the reactions of tea aficionados. You get none of that because it’s a freaking first draft. Nothing makes sense yet and there are errors everywhere. This goes doubly for the way I write my first drafts. I honestly have a character currently named GuyWhoNeedsAName.

Giving a first draft to someone to read would be like handing someone a pile of logs and asking them if your hand-crafted furniture is comfortable.

And even if I did care to have someone read my first drafts, that’s still a year of work before anyone can even do that. Maybe six months. I think with one of my earlier books I had a first draft done in six months. But I was young and stupid then and really have no urge to write like that ever again.

And, so, you have a hump. Even if you’re writing urban fantasy and you’ve got an undead civil war going on with flashbacks to ancient Rome and Romania…it still seems so freaking boring.

There’s no flow. There’s no sense of the larger work. It’s just granulated words each day. It’s like being too focused in while painting a landscape so that you don’t see a meadow full of beautiful wildflowers, you see brush strokes of colored paint.

But it is what it is and I know to expect this and I know to plod through it.


It is just boring as fuck.