It’s a worst-case scenario for me: a client is M.I.A. She hasn’t submitted her first draft and isn’t responding to emails.

No bueno.

I reach out to the friend who referred me to her to find out what is going on. She hops on a call with my client and is able to identify a block. Or rather, an error of thinking. The client realizes that she thinks the first draft of her books has to be a lock (and then the editing becomes a matter of just moving the words around.)

Uhm, no, sweetheart. That’s called a final draft.

Mutual friend tells her no way man. Send that pile of steaming shit to the editor and let the editor get the structure down. And then you’ll see what the book is and you can rewrite chapter by chapter to make a whole.

That was the perfect advice.

I see this all the time: people make writing so much harder than it needs to be.

I blame your high school English teacher. We have been ingrained to hand in a perfect final copy and get our grade. Book writing just does not work like that.

You see, it’s not actually your job (yet) to worry about the end result. We’re not there yet. It’s your job to barf out all your brilliance onto a piece of paper and let us do the rest. You are the content, we are the context. That’s how it goes. You don’t have to do it all. That’s actually WHY you have an editor.

It’s also your job to keep the project moving along to the next step and it’s my job to make sure you do that. ie: make sure you get out of your own way.

You don’t have to have it all figured out.

Take a look at your writing. Whether it’s a book or a blog post, are you stalling the process? Is it because you have to feel it’s perfect before you let anyone else see it? Chances are you will NEVER feel like ANY draft is a ‘lock’. Like, ever. So just get over it and press send. Your editors (and family members and friends and probably your pet) will thank you. Anything is better than nothing. And creating something from nothing is the hardest part. From here, we can re-order, restructure, slash, burn, rewrite, add, delete, cry, triumph and rejoice and get it along to the next damn step. And that is all that matters in the early drafts of book writing.

Your time is now,