All writers know first drafts are less than perfect. In fact, they are usually awful. Crappy first drafts are par for the course.
At Walmart one day I was shopping with my son. I saw a Smiling Pile of Poo Bank. Jokingly, I said, “When I finish the rough draft for my novel I should treat myself by buying this to hold all the money I earn when I’m a famous author.”
He took it off the shelf and put it in the buggy. “I’m buying it for you.”
“No, no,” I said. “I have to finish the draft first.”
“You will,” he said.
“What if I don’t?”
It gave me the warm fuzzies to think he had faith in me. The guy must believe I could write a novel if he parted with cash to purchase such a thing.
I’m not really sure if having this bank represents earnings I will make selling books. Perhaps, being empty, it better represents all the money I have spent attempting to learn the craft of novel writing.
The Pile of Poo sat in a central place. I saw it every day. We all saw it every day. If I had been good and worked on my novel, the face smiled encouragingly at me. On the other hand, on days I could have written but didn’t, I swear that pile of poo mocked me with its big, round bugeyes and sly, silly grin. Plus, now my son was invested, having bought that pile of poo for me. He is a grown man, but he is still my kid. If he had enough faith in me to buy a ceramic bank with his own money, I had to be worthy of that pile of poo.
It was about this time last year when I heard back from an agent. My full manuscript had been requested, but in the end was turned down. I wasn’t entirely sure what the issue was, so I hired book coach Sarah Hamer to help me.
Here we are many months later with about 40,000 words added to the story. Many of these words were written 500 at a time as I kept to my daily minimum goal. Over time I did pick up speed, learning to use speech to text and making adjustments to current challenges.
New characters walked onto the stage, and the plot is better. I decided to change from Middle Grade to Young Adult, and hopefully corrected any major story flaws.
Finally, my draft is finished! You know what that means. Now I get to begin re-writing and editing.
And my Smiling Pile of Poo will be here to encourage me every step of the way.
Oh, and by the way, one of my other boys bought me this lovely first draft notebook, trusting I have another story in me waiting to be written.
It’s wonderful to have supportive kids, even if they give me lots of crap, I mean poo.