Shoveling Sand: In the First Draft Trenches #IWSG

SandcastlesTime for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, dedicated to helping out insecure writers around the world. This month the event is hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia. Many thanks to the awesome cohosts.

I’m most of the way through my first draft now (about 55K words into what I’m estimating will be around 70K when done), and I find myself reciting this quote from Shannon Hale every day: “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box to that later I can build castles.”

I sit down and carve some words out of my head with a melon baller. Slap them on the keyboard, gore and all. Read them squirming on the screen. They’re embarrassed to be there, but I DON”T CARE. I need to reach my word count for today. Keep going. Remember, I’m just shoveling sand. This quote lets me just wipe down the keyboard (with tears, if need be) and move on.

I still believe in my story. Right now, though, I’m coming to the Dark Moment when my protagonist realizes that there’s absolutely no hope, no possible way forward, and gives up. It’s hard. It hurts. Don’t worry, she’ll get through it, and so will I. She doesn’t see the shining moment when she steps forward and saves the day, but I do. That’s the castle, waiting for me, and for her.

Once I get done shoveling all this sand.


12 thoughts on “Shoveling Sand: In the First Draft Trenches #IWSG

  1. Ooh, I love that quote! Shannon Hale is one of my favorite authors. And it’s so true. I sometimes I have to tell myself to “just keep swimming,” because once I get to the end, I can see the big picture and know what I need to fix.


  2. Shoveling sand…it’s a never ending task. I just want the castles to form at the first try, but I try to remember what I first write isn’t going to be perfect. It’s going to take a lot of revisions and rewriting. And it still won’t come close to the story I’ve imagined in my head. But that it’s alright, as long as I get it down on paper. As along as readers feel that the story’s fictional world is reality. Good luck and keep writing!


  3. I love that quote and it inspires me when I’m writing first drafts, whether they be novels or short stories. I quite enjoy the process of the first draft. It’s usually the next steps that trip me up. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Pingback: Six Lessons From the First Draft | Word Wacker

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