Let the Rough Draft be a Rough Draft

I know, you probably did a double-take on the titles because it seems pretty self-explanatory. But I’m hoping this post will be helpful to someone. But first I have a few things to say, then we’ll jump right in!

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! The World of Silence Blog Tour Starts Monday!!!!!!!!!! Eeeeee!!! *Runs around the house shaking everyone and telling them for the one-hundredth time that the blog tour starts Monday!* This is AMAZING!!! Eeek! I am so excited about all the interviews, character interviews, reviews, and all that other great stuff!!!! Eeek!!!!

Okay, with that being said, Monday is also the last day to submit your story for the contest! Here is the link to the submission form in case you need it….I’ve already received two submissions and can’t wait to see the rest!!!

Also, I’m officially a YDubber!!!! Eeek! Joined yesterday and I’m enjoying YWW so much!!! Enrollment is open now! Your first month is only a dollar!

Okay, now to the post!!!!

Letting the Rough Draft be a Rough Draft

Personally, this is something I struggle with, a lot actually. Letting a rough draft be a rough draft can be soooo hard. Especially for us perfectionist writers. We want every detail to be just so, every phrase to add up, every bit of humor to be funny but not corny, every…you get the point we like it perfect!

   But see here’s where we go wrong…by focusing on making the first draft perfect we lose sight of our storyline. We get caught up editing those first ten chapters instead of finishing the story. Because once we start editing it’s hard to stop. We go back through every chapter! We switch things. We change things. We cut words. We waste time editing when we should be writing.

   The first draft, often referred to as the rough draft is not in any way meant to be perfect. It’s where you get all those ideas down on paper. It’s supposed to be messy and bad and rough (hence being called the rough draft). We don’t have to go back through and edit every few chapters. We don’t have to try and write the perfect paragraph every stinkin’ time. All a rough draft asks of us is to write it! Finish it, and then you can edit the hound out of it.

   Seriously, I cannot tell you guys how many times I have gone back through my current WIP (Work in Progress) and edited pieces of the rough draft. I go back to find a scene to refresh myself on it, end up reworking the whole thing and editing every chapter up to where I’m at…it’s exhausting. And makes things a tad bit confusing because I can’t remember what I took out and what I put in. My storyline gets lost in the editing somewhere and then I spend hours of frustration trying to get my feet back under me.

   I’m not saying it’s wrong to edit. No, editing is great! In its own place, in its own time. Editing in the middle of a rough draft will (for most of us) only end in frustration.

Here are three things that have happened to me, starting with the most recent ones and moving to one that made me stop writing for like SIX months!

1. Editing during the rough draft can: Make us Have to reread everything we wrote.

We have to reread everything because we spent time editing and now can’t remember what we were writing or what we changed or how it all lines up. It makes us lose sight of the plot, so we have to reread to find it.

2. Editing during the rough draft can: Make us abandon the project out of frustration.

This happens because we get so aggravated at trying to pick up all the loose threads. All these pieces that don’t connect, the only reason we know they are there…we edited. Read back over it and started editing and now we can’t get the mistakes out of our heads. We can’t figure out how to make the ‘improved’ edited pieces fit with the originals…and agh! It’s eating at our nerves.

3. Editing during the rough draft can: Ruin the small amount of self-esteem we have.

This happened to me a while back…I started rereading a book I was working on and became so disheartened by the writing I saw I just stopped writing. It was a good dream, I told myself, but you’re not cut out for it. Look at this garbage you wrote, you shouldn’t even finish this manuscript. So, I didn’t. It’s sitting around here somewhere…and I’m afraid to look at it right now.

I’ve dealt with all three of these situations firsthand. It’s hard to let the rough draft be, but you really should. Don’t look back until you’re done!

   Unless you’re like me and you write in sprints, and you can’t remember what you last wrote. In that case, only read the last one to two chapters you wrote but don’t touch them! Do not…I see you wanting to…no don’t do it! Leave them as they are and simply make a comment saying, ‘work on this area’. Or ‘rephrase’. ‘Expound’. But do not start editing. (Implementing a suggestion from Word or Google docs is fine, as is fixing a typo, but no major edits.)

   Don’t get caught up in perfection, just write. That paragraph doesn’t have to sound perfect. That fight scene can always be extended later just get what you have down. Anything can be fixed later; it doesn’t have to be perfect now!

   So, I hope this helped somebody. Remember the rough draft is just that, a rough draft.

Do you have a hard time leaving your rough draft alone? Do you find yourself editing it all the time? Are you a perfectionist? And most importantly, how excited are you about WoS’s upcoming release and Blog Tour?

Your superly excited friend,


Published by Kayti

Hi there, my name is Kaytlin Phillips, but I go by Kayti. I'm a homeschool grad, author, reader, and child of our Gracious King!!! I have an obsession with the written word, or maybe an addiction. Ever since I can remember I have read everything I can get my hands on! I LOVE BOOKS!!! I also love writing and might have a slight obsession with pens and notebooks, don't tell anyone. I also love the smell of old books! And yes, if you're wondering, I talk to myself, I think all bookishly crazy people do...

10 thoughts on “Let the Rough Draft be a Rough Draft

  1. Wow, this really good! Such good points!
    I’m a perfectionist (most of the time, anyway) and so I usually go over and over a rough draft…and eventually end up believing that, as you said, I’m not cut out for being an author. It is true that it’s definitely not one of my first things to tell someone: “Oh, I’m a writer!” But I do write a lot this just reminds me to calm down and realize THERE WILL NEVER BE THE PERFECT STORY! – unless the Bible is a perfect story (is it the perfect story?). But anyway, my point I was trying to make is I struggle with this so thank you for these reminders! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked the article and yes, it’s a struggle. But you got this! You’re probably a better writer than you think!
      (Yep, the Bible is the only perfect story! 😉 )
      Of course!


  2. So true! Great post, Kayti! I really enjoyed your encouragement. Just editing the story when it’s already written can be exhausting. Why add to that by editing as you write only the first draft?
    This has been such a great reminder; thanks for sharing your tips and experience. Now, if you’ll excuse me:
    *runs around the room screaming with you about WoS’s upcoming release*

    *quickly composes self* *ahem* I’m good, it’s all good XD.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, glad you liked it! Right? Already so many edits, why add to the stress…it does nothing but run you down mentally.

      Lol…I know I’m so blooming excited!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ohhh Kayti!!! This was so encouraging!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post!!! Several days ago, I went back and edited too much, and now I’ve been feeling discouraged at all the mistakes that are staying at the back my mind. It’s like the mistakes and plot holes have taken up the space in my mind devoted to actually writing the story. *sighs* But I’m determined to keep this in mind and let the rough draft be the rough draft!

    Besides that, EEE I CAN’T BELIEVE THE WOS TOUR IS SO SOON!!! *dances excitedly*

    (Also, I know it’s ridiculously late lol… but I just got the idea for the short short I want to enter for the contest yesterday! I’m almost halfway done writing it, so hopefully I’ll finish it in time 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it encouraged you! It is so hard not to go back and fix things but I’ve found it’s really better to leave it. For your mental health anyway…lol…

      Eeek! I know!

      (Eee! Can’t wait to read it!)

      Liked by 1 person

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