Why I Hate First Drafts:
1. I don't know who my character is. (I mean really and truly who she is.)
2. I don't know what the story is. (I mean the actual truth of the story.)
3. I don't like writing badly. (And I've yet to find the magical pen that writes beautiful first drafts.)
How I'm Trying to Avoid These Problems with My Work-in-Progress:
1. I'm thinking about my character as much as possible, imagining what she would say or do if she were with me all day long. She's practically my invisible friend!
2. I'm outlining and re-outlining and re-re-outlining in an effort to get to the one essential truth of the story.
3. I'm not writing at all.
I realize at some point I'm going to have to actually write something. A chapter. And another chapter. And so on. That's kind of the key to writing a book. (Duh.) But until then, I'm not going to feel bad that I have nothing to show my critique group, my agent, or my editor. (At least not too bad.) I'm not going to focus on the fact that I started developing this idea four months ago. (Yikes!) This isn't procrastination or writer's block or any other negative sounding label. This is just the way I work. (Life is busy with three teens and a puppy, you know.)
Maybe all this thinking and pre-writing will help in the long run. Maybe when I finally write this draft, the story will come out in the beautiful and magical way I'm imagining it.
It doesn't hurt to hope.