Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond?
Yes, thank you George Washington in Hamilton for giving me that line. But seriously, can I just be real for a sec?
I'm tired. Like so tired I think my blood has turned into a shambling hoard of lost zombies. I have crawled through Nanowrimo and now we've landed in the middle of the pit of 50,000 words. Right now, I kind of just want to wallow in the mud and give up now.
But the way back is just as long as the way forward and we've already come so far. The middle is always, always the part of any novel where I struggle the most. It's where I worry I've completely lost control of the story and my own voice. Every word becomes something to be second-guessed and eye with suspicion.
But it's part of the process. I have to remind myself of that every time I hit it. Every time the middle hangs heavy (much like my squishy tummy) I remind myself it's normal, it's a part of growing and of building a story. (Not my tummy. That is a process of age and a lot of cheese.)
What I have to think about is that even if the words I'm writing suck, even if I end up cutting them all to the ground and never looking at them again, they serve a purpose. Sometimes that's helping sort out the real heart of the story and sometimes that's realizing that the story is totally flawed and finding a way to pick up the pieces and keep up moving.
There is no wrong way to first draft. The point is to get the words on the page and then to play with them (you lucky few who draft and edit together, you do you) and find the story hiding in there. Sometimes you've marinated on an idea so long it comes out in a beautiful shape with only a little polishing needed, and sometimes, like my 2015 Nanowrimo novel, the whole thing needs to be scrapped. But it served a solid purpose and I learned so much from that failed draft.
BUT, because brains are kind of ridiculous, I have to remind myself of that every single time I start a new draft. I want it to be different. I want the story to be perfect from the very first word I type on and that is just no reality. This is the process and part of being a writer is being able to trust in that process.
So, here we are at the halfway point, push on everyone, we're almost there.