Actually, I've been writing The Looking Glass for the past nine years- I learned to write with this story. Last year, however, I realized it needed yet another rewrite- one that would weave a completely new subplot through the story. After finishing my degree in December, (hello sleep and free evenings!) I began rewriting the entire novel.
I despise ... loath ... detest writing first drafts.
And this rewrite needs tons of new material. I am not the writer who creates beautiful first drafts. Writing first drafts feels like a bad date: I'm awkward, uncertain, unable to maintain a conversation, and hoping- please, dear God- that it will end soon.
Since I'm working with a novel, I've been writing the first draft for a chapter and then moving on to the next chapter. It's killing me to leave so much unfinished business behind. These drafts aren't even good enough for the Slushies to read yet.
Still, it's been a great experience, this butt-in-chair time (as Jane Yolen calls it).
I've found gems in every chapter. I discovered a great character. I spun a beautiful sentence. (I doubt I'll keep any other part of that chapter, but the sentence is a good one. It's the heart of that portion of the story and the place I'll begin when I revise.)
I'm realizing that this horribly uncomfortable process doesn't mean that I'm a bad writer. Good writers ... write. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard. It takes courage to write something I know will begin as utter dreck. It requires confidence and tenacity to turn that beginning into something I'll be proud of.
This beginning is the part of writing that curls my toes and gives me nightmares. But I can do it.
So I will.