Setting Self Doubt on Fire: First Draft Blues


Hi everyone, well I’ve finally reached the 100,000 words mark, however I’m still not finished with my first draft. I always thought that I would be done once I hit that word count, well not exactly 100,000, but according to the cards on my wall I still have a little while to go. I do think that by next week though I will have finally finished my first draft. I’d probably jump up and down and start twerking when I’ve done that because I’ve worked hard on this. So if any of you out there who are also close to finishing that first draft, then I hope you dance along and celebrate when you do finally type THE END.


So this leads me to this post right here. The first draft, it takes courage to sit and complete this stage especially as there’s no guarantee that it will ever get read. But it is a sure sign of your commitment, your dedication, and that hunger that burns within you. This is your step forward to chasing that dream, and if you’re determined to reach your goal it’s a step you need to take. However, like a baby’s first steps you will also be wobbly, unsure and a little scared, and this is what that pesky Mr Self Doubt loves to latch onto.


While writing my novel I’ve had to reread the last few pages to remind myself of where I’m at, and which direction I’m going in. I have those cards but I’ve found that they have changed so much that I don’t have the chance to write new ones to replace the old. I did however experience something unexpected, reading my work back made me cringe in some places. Things have been written badly, obvious spelling mistakes, things don’t make sense at places. It can be very off-putting, and can make you doubt yourself and your ability. So I’ve decided to do this post today to remind you of things that you need to keep in mind when you’re dealing with the first draft blues.


Things to remember


  • The main thing to remember is that this is only your first draft. The job of the first draft is to get that story down and quick. Just like when a house is being built, it’s messy at first bricks and dirt everywhere, but then eventually it becomes a beautiful home. That’s the same for your novel, the first draft is the foundation, and you’ll have plenty of time to decorate it later.
  • Nothing is perfect first time round, that’s why we have the edit process.
  • Everything can be improved, the novel you see now with work and effort will transform from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan, and the only magic that is needed is your own.
  • If you can spot the mistakes then that’s great, you can see what needs to be fixed. That’s better than thinking your work is perfect when it isn’t.
  • Actually finishing the first draft is an achievement in itself. Celebrate today and sort out the issues another day. Actually it’s advised that you leave the novel for at least a month before editing.
  • You’re human, you make mistakes and that applies to your writing.


Now these are only some things to remember, but they all basically say the same thing, stop being hard on yourself and don’t listen to Mr Self Doubt. So the next time you read any first draft whether short story or novel, before you cringe and insult yourself remember these points, and carry on.


I found some interesting inspirational quotes for writers, so I’ll end this post with one.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Agatha Christie




Nicole Simms

Nicole J. Simms is a UK horror, crime and fantasy writer. However, she is open to writing in other genres.Her stories have been published in anthologies, in magazines and on websites. In 2016, she won the Nine Voices’ 50-Word Halloween Competition with her story ‘Meeting the Parents’. And, her self-published e-book The Book of Drabbles is now available to download for free.She is also the deputy leader of the Oldbury Writing Group, a West Midlands based writing group. They have published a WW2 anthology together titled From Sunrise to Sunset, and they are now working on their second anthology.Stephen King, Sharon Bolton, J. K. Rowling, R. L. Stine and Kelley Armstrong are some of her favourite authors. And, when she’s not writing, she loves to bake, paint, knit and go on nature walks.Find out more at:Website - link - link - link -

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