Boy, has this been an experience. The second draft is no joke. This whole writing thing is no joke.
If you are in the middle of the same kind of second draft chaos, or maybe third draft, fourth draft…you will understand. And even if you are just starting your manuscript, every day is a new adventure of writing lessons learned! Among the many lessons, there are two that have stood out to me, especially in this second draft.
Want to listen instead? I created this audio recording just for you:
Don’t feel chained to your outline
Don’t feel bad about not sticking to an outline, especially if you feel that your story is going really well! I wrote my first draft without an outline, and I have attempted to write my second draft with an outline, just to learn that outlines do not work for me one bit. I am also finding that the more I write, even if some concepts don’t make the cut, I am learning more about my characters and the story with each new scene, planned or not. Nothing goes to waste. Break free from the restriction of your outline if you feel that it is holding you back like it was beginning to feel for me. Since letting go, I am actually creating a much better story than I would have had I stuck to my outline.
Connect with other writers
There are SO many writers on Twitter, it is unbelievable. The #writingcommunity is incredible and filled with so many supportive and enthusiastic writers who just want to belong and motivate others (and also wallow in the struggles of the writerly life). I didn’t understand the true importance of surrounding myself with other writers until I finished school; I always had writers naturally surrounding me, and I didn’t know how good I had it until it was gone!
Try engaging with other writers online, and keep in touch with those real life writer friends, too (real life friends are still a thing, right?). There have been days where I felt alone in my doubts, my struggles, and felt like giving up. Then I turned to my fellow writers who felt the same. We are all here to motivate, inspire, and encourage each other. I am reminded every day how lucky we are as members in such an uplifting community following our passion.
Think of these tips on the days where writing feels impossible, when you feel like all you are writing is shit, like you will never get published. What keeps you pushing forward? Why do you return to writing? I don’t know who said this, but I found the following quote about a year ago, and it has kept me pushing even harder to accomplish my goals.
“If you give up on your dreams, what’s next?”