Tonight, I am meeting with my writer's group to discuss my revised outline for my WIP. People in the group submit material once a month to be critiqued. Last month, I brought in the first draft of my outline. I received excellent feedback and realized that it needed work before I could begin the first draft. I believe this new draft is much stronger, and I'm hoping the group feels the same way. My goal is to begin writing the first draft of the manuscript beginning this weekend, fingers crossed that I get a thumbs up from the group.
I am a hardcore plotter. I like to get my outline as tight as possible before writing. It's easier to fix structural and character problems in a 10-page outline than a 300-page book. But I also want to start writing the first draft NOW. I'm excited about my book, excited to begin writing, and I don't want to lose this momentum. And no matter how strong my outline is, there will always be problems that need to be addressed. Right now, I'm not sure if it's better to keep preparing or to let this excitement carry me into the first draft. Thus, my question remains: how do you know when you're ready to begin your first draft?
Plotters and pantsers face this quandry. For the former group, we need to get to that point where we're secure with our outline before plunging into writing. For me, starting the first draft is the point of no return. I can't rush it. Two years ago, I tried participating in Nanowrimo, but I couldn't make it past the first page. I wasn't ready yet. Pantsers, you guys also deal with this issue. You have to reach a point where you're ready to put the idea swirling around in your head onto paper. How do you know when you're ready?
I need to feel that mixture of excitement, confidence, and impatience in order to start my first draft. And I'm feeling it! I've prepped all I can. I am confident in my outline. This story needs to come out of me now. Ultimately, I can only prep and outline so much. After that, I just have to take the plunge.
My insane goal: To have a first draft completed by Labor Day. I'm calling it Augowrimo.
My sensible goal: To have a first draft completed by Halloween. You know, in case that thing called life gets in the way.
I'm usually wary of talking publicly about my writing goals in case I can't live up to expectations. But I am taking a stand of solidarity with my blogging buddies who have been open about their progress. Maybe if I hold myself accountable to you, that *may* help motivate me.
So how do you know when you're ready to being your first draft?