The title pretty much sums up this blog post!
The feeling of growing dread when, having put your NaNoWriMo draft away for a few months, the time comes to bring it out again and actually read the words you wrote last November. The words you hope to make a book from. Will it be a crappy first draft, or will it be a dog’s breakfast, a farrago of nonsense, a load of self-indulgent guff?
I didn’t quite peep out from behind the sofa at it, but I came close. Eventually, though, the day came when I couldn’t put it off any longer. For one thing, I’ve decided to write a novella during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, so I want to get this book edited and off to beta readers before then, if I possibly can.
So I formatted it into an A5 PDF, sent it to my Kindle, and got my coloured pens ready. I may have held the Kindle at arm’s-length the first time I opened the document!
On the first day I read 4 chapters, and I didn’t find anything terrible.
On the second day I read 7 chapters, and found some factual things I need to double-check. I’m fairly sure I researched at the time, but I’ve slept since then…
On the third day I read 4 more chapters, to reach the halfway point, and nothing major reared its head. However, I had a small attack of the collywobbles when I thought of all the plot yet to come – would the second half read like an overstuffed suitcase?
On the fourth day I was so busy with lesson plans that I read no chapters. I may also have been putting off starting the second half…
On the fifth day I read 8 chapters, and while I found some possible consistency issues, they’re minor and easily sorted. By this point I was wondering if all the trouble was stored up in the last 7 chapters. Only one way to find out…
On the sixth day I gritted my teeth and finished the read-through. I was dreading the last couple of chapters, and true, they probably have more red and purple notes than any of the others (in my weird system, red is questions and research, purple is big stuff to fix).
It isn’t a mess.
Bits will get rewritten.
And that’s fine.
Perhaps you’re thinking that this is a bit over-dramatic, considering that I’ve done this before. Quite a few times, now.
However, I still get the Oh heck, what if I’ve forgotten how to write a book? fear every time. Both before I take a deep breath and start writing, and when I come back to it to read through the whole thing. And I bet I’m not alone.
For now, though, I’ve done it. I have 14 pages of notes in orange, blue, red and purple, a timeline, and a list of THINGS TO DO. Onward!