As a result I stopped writing the same manuscript about three separate times part way through. It was as if I lost the momentum when I stopped to edit. I would get to a point where everything was great up to that point, but I had no idea where to go from there. Even with my trusty outline. I thought outlining was the problem. So I decided that for my next manuscript I was going to fly by the seat of my pants and just write what ever came next. Of course, that didn't work. I began two new projects, both of which I set aside after only six chapters each.
It seemed outlining might not have been my problem after all. Then again, I was still going over each chapter multiple times before moving on. Then I would think what the heck is supposed to come next? I did need that outline in the end, but there was another problem with my drafting process.
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Now, it is still sitting on the shelf hardly touched two years later, but it still has that potential that none of the previous versions had. I have learned to outline my plots better and become a better writer. Yet, my rough drafts are always messy. Yet as I sat down recently to edit my last NaNo project I found a really interesting story that does not need nearly as much work as I thought it might. The writing needs to be smoothed out and some of the details need to be worked on, but overall I have a decent draft. Even if it appears rather messy.
And since learning not to edit while I draft I have also learned that it is completely acceptable to have your beta readers / critique partners take a stab at the manuscript before doing too much editing. I now go through each manuscript to fix plot holes first, hand it over to my cps, and then do the major edits.
What are your thoughts on messy first drafts? Do you edit while you draft? Which method works better for you?