Picking Through My Writing Rubble

I'm in the middle of writing the second draft of my third novel. I wrote the first draft in the same stream of consciousness way I wrote my others - head down, brain switched to automatic. I do this based on the best piece of writing advice I ever received, which is to turn the editing part of my brain off while getting a first draft down. It works for me in that it allows ideas to fall freely onto the page. When I look over this draft, however, to prepare for a second, I'm generally astonished at the mess I've made. Needless to say, second drafts, are much harder work for me...

Not all writers write this way. While I start at the beginning and plough on until the bitter end, some writers edit first drafts as they go. Others redraft after each chapter or write piecemeal, developing their key scenes before filling in the gaps. There is no right or wrong way. The writing process is very personal. The key things to remember are not to judge yourself, be willing to make mistakes and keep writing. Writing is like a muscle afterall; the more you use it, practice developing and pulling stories apart, the stronger it gets. 

And so, I try to recall this as I pick through the rubble of words that is my first draft. I've been through it all before, the crushing doubt and frustration, and even the joy at discovering unexpected treasures. I tell myself this is all part of the process, my process. It's imperfect and at times impractical, but it gets the job done in the end.