Do You Know What “Draft” REALLY Means?

Let me tell you what I discovered after two continuous weeks of editing a short story.

We all know what happens during the first draft. We just sit and puke “creative vomit.”

What do you do with vomit?

No seriously…

Do you sit down and pick out the orange carrots and sweet peas?

No! You flush it.

The purpose of the first draft is to get a general idea of how you want your story to go. Then you go to the second. Is that draft perfect? Of course not.

Time for the third edit. Perfect? Nope. Fourth? …You get the idea.

So when can you finally label a manuscript “my final draft” or “my finished draft” or “ready for publication?”

Never. There will always be a draft! A-L-W-A-Y-S!

You may now throw your computer at the wall.

Don’t let this bit of information discourage you. The trick to overcoming a draft is knowing when to say “enough is enough.”

Enlightening, right? You’re welcome.


Have you ever had something like this happen to you? Why do you think it happens to you? Lets talk in the comments!

15 Replies to “Do You Know What “Draft” REALLY Means?”

  1. Yes to this! At some point you just have to stop and let your writing out into the world. I could work on my writing forever, but sometimes working on it too much can be just as bad as not enough! 😀

  2. There will be always typos or mistakes in the published work.
    When I read a novel to find mistakes, I find them and trip over them.
    When I read a novel to enjoy the story, I enjoy it and all mistakes pass my eyes, like I don’t see them.
    I don’t notice mistakes when I focus and enjoy a good story.

    1. You’ve got a point. I bet there are authors out there that wished they would have written something differently.

      Also, I can relate with you! I enjoy books that make me forget about “writer-ly” things (like plot holes or dialogue). I reread books like these because I want to know what made them so good!

  3. Exactly! If there’s one thing my first draft has taught me is that UGLY WORDS ARE UGLY. So I wouldn’t be so kind as to call it vomit: I’m calling it puke, which is, altogether an uglier word. There are honestly times when I just want to chuck my laptop out the window, or stop altogether. For God’s sake, I’m a WRITER, not an editor! But editing, I guess, just comes with the job. But, miraculously, I actually have found one scene that turned out how I wanted it to be.
    Rushed? Yes.
    Horrifying word choice? Of course!
    Loose plot threads that sort-of-kind-of-not-really lead to it? Yep.
    But can I throw it out the window with the rest of the manuscript? NO. It’s my one Beautiful Scene, my vision, and I keep writing just to get to that. So that’s basically how I cope with it. Personally, I think midsections are the hardest 🙂

    Keep editing! It’s most definitely worth it.

    1. Puke sounds nicer to me…maybe we should call them “creative farts”. I don’t think farts are kind so…it works, right? Lol!

      I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t let me “inner editor” out of its cage in awhile…but editing gives me head tumors! And I agree! The midsection is the worst! For my short I know how I want my story to end/begin. But the middle is killing me

      …maybe this is why writer’s are portrayed as “sorta insane” in movies?

      Still, I like the way my short is starting to turn out. It’s definitely better than the first draft. So I guess there’s a silver lining.

  4. I’m reaching the end of the drafting process, and I have to remind myself that after getting my final minor content done and I move into copy and line editing, that’s it, I’m done. No more content changes, because all of my betas came back with “no plot holes, no continuity snags, no bad characterization”. If that’s not a signal of “get it done”, I don’t know what it is.

    1. So you put yourself on a “edit diet.” That’s a good idea!

      Editing is like running around in circles! I often wonder how published authors feel about their works. Maybe they wished they wrote the dialogue different or added more description? That’s why I say there’s never really an end to the “draft” because there’s always something that could have been better.

      But you have a point, if the beta’s say it’s good…why change it?

      It’s the “Get it out to the betas” part that’s giving me trouble.

      1. That depends fully on you. I suggest having common signs for when it’s beta ready. Mine:
        – Cohesive plot
        – Characters that aren’t flat
        – A beginning, middle, and end, with connection between

        For me, that means I’ve finished my second draft.

  5. Lovely post! I hope your editing is going well. I’ve just had my first beta read and am on my third draft but taking it so slowly. (I have pages of notes to adjust) I’m still not even thinking about words at this point just stuff that happens. I don’t think I will ever be completely happy with the words! I’ll settle for being perfectly content with the plot (if that’s possible).

    1. It’s a bit of a hassle, right? Not only do we writers have to get the plot “correct” we also have to use the right words! Ack! But it’s worth it.

      Good luck on your third draft 🙂

  6. I give myself a deadline. What ever is done by then is done. Game over. Otherwise I’ll re-write and revise it to death while I fill myself with self doubt.

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