My daughter is a gymnast, a passion I helped her discover at the tender age of four, when she needed an outlet for her limitless energy. Now ten years on, she’s still at it — leaping, tumbling, and handstanding on any available surface.
Every gymnast progresses at an individual rate, excelling at some skills while struggling with others. Yet they are never alone. Teammates come together to celebrate every victory and provide support in moments of defeat.
The parallels between the gymnastics and writing worlds are uncanny. We learn and grow as individuals, but we’re surrounded by a supportive network.
Recently I blogged about my First Draft Highs and Lows. The outpouring of support from readers was astounding. I feel compelled to give credit where it’s due, so here’s a sampling of the tips, advice, and encouragements that have helped me remember I’m not in this alone:
We all have moments of self doubt…this takes time and several revisions. So be patient. — Rajni Gupta
Write the rest how you think it should go, no matter how at odds it is with what you already put down. — Phillip McCollum
Think about where you want the story to go and how you could get it there. That will help you…fix the points where it started to drift. — Jon Simmonds
Things can often be fixed at a point of reassessment more easily than you may imagine, and then you are fresh for what is to come. — Francis Guenette
Stop, assess, see what’s working, see what’s not, and proceed from there. — Michelle Proulx
Compressing [my] book into a single page allowed me to see that the original story arc didn’t make a strong enough impact. When I corrected the synopsis, I was able to plan the book out to the end. — Joe Ponepinto
Something that helped me was to jot down what happens in each chapter…to see where the plot holes were. — Laura Read
Whenever my first draft goes astray…I always go back to the outline, understand the repercussions and then carry on with the draft. — Dylan Hearn
Sometimes I don’t know my protagonist’s goal until I’m in the second or third draft…That’s okay. You can really revise after you’ve laid the bones down. — Kourtney Heintz
Most first drafts are shit – we have to allow them to be. It’s amazing how much the quality changes over the…following drafts…and you’ll learn so much from the process. — Gemma Hawdon
Things can always be doctored and fixed. Getting the words out in the first place is what counts at the first-draft stage. — Carrie Rubin
Over time you can rewrite and edit…just let it evolve until it grows into a wonderful book. — Larry Merritt
You were successful at reaching your goal of 30k words, that’s what matters… Most importantly, enjoy the process! — Jill Weatherholt
I would take a bit of a break. And then re-evaluate what you believe needs to be done. — Fransi Weinstein
Look at it with a fresh eye. It might not appear quite as ugly as you first thought. — Jenny Pellett
Get some perspective before deciding how you feel about the outcome. — Lara Krupicka
First drafts suck, and they’re supposed to suck. — Natalie Wicklund
I say finish the darn thing. — Don Royster
Thank you so very much for your support! ~Gwen