Moody First Drafts


I’ve talked about it before, but it’s a topic worth revisiting: the issue of writing and mood. I am a firm believer that if you ever want to finish any work, you cannot wait for the writing mood to strike. You have to be willing to sit down and get to it, even if you don’t feel like it.

Do I always do a great job of that? Why no, I don’t, and thank you for asking that very uncomfortable question, hypothetical reader. You know, I used to think you were in this with me, which you should be, given that I’ve made you up, but sometimes even the imagination revolts.

Digression aside, writing no matter how you’re feeling does have its downside. Sometimes the writing regardless of mood leaves an impression on the work itself, making the first draft flat, or lifeless, or perfunctory. And that’s fine, that’s all a part of the process.

As long as you go back and edit the work, ideally with enough time and distance to really look at it critically, neutrally. To get away from that initial glow of “look what I created” and get into the murky reality of “look what I created.”

What do you mean, you don’t hear the difference, hypothetical reader? You’ve really got it in for me today, huh? It’s all in the inflection.

Writing isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. And I firmly believe that first drafts aren’t meant to be exposed to the open air. You’ve got to give your work a little time to settle, and then go back and see how you can improve it.

Mood isn’t irrelevant, then, because it doesn’t affect the work; it often does. It’s irrelevant because no matter how it flavors the first draft, you can always, always go back and fix it.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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2 thoughts on “Moody First Drafts

  1. The fiorst “Look what I created is “Hey, I built an airplane!”. The second “look what I created” is “I created a monster!”.

    Writing is work. Sometimes a miracle happens and it flows out of you, but most of the times you have to force yourself in a writing mood. That’s why a lot of authors talk about having a room with nothing about a writing device.

    People often forget that the finished product they read is edit – heavily edited, when it comes to novels. Some novels sit for 7 years before being published.


    • All completely and totally true. Perfect first drafts just don’t happen, you have to get them from the initial mess to something more cohesive.

      And writing is work. Sometimes it’s really tough to force yourself to sit down and do it, but that’s the only way it gets done 🙂


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