Buttercup: We’ll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.
Alright, it’s time for some Princess Bride allusions!
Writing a first draft is like being in the fire swamp.
You’ve got the flame spurts, the lightning sand, and those blasted R.O.U.S.s (rodents of unusual size).
You’re traveling along through your manuscript and the terrain begins to be a bit more ominous. A few questions surface, snagging your sleeves like the gnarled trees of the swamp, but you press on! Then, all of a sudden, a fire spurt! A tempting new direction, bright and hot and you dodge, because you, you are going to stay on course.
You carry on, eyes peeled for any more spurts, when the ground gives way beneath you, plunging you into the lightning sand! Progress is entirely halted as you try to extricate yourself from the pit formed by your story collapsing in on you. But you manage to drag yourself out, and on to sturdier ground. You take a few deep breaths and move forward, feeling ever more determined from your narrow escapes.
You feel pretty good! A little singed by the avoided temptations of new directions and ideas, perhaps. A little weary from that plot hole that threatened to put an end to you and your story, understandably. But onward!
And then, the R.O.U.S.s. also known as Self-doubt, self-loathing, and oh-dear-god-I’m-100-pages-in-and-I’m-stuck…monsters.
Will you escape the psychological rodents of unusual size? Will you make it out of the fire swamp with something resembling a story?
Or at least, that’s how I’m feeling at the moment…