The First Pass Is The Hardest

I’m almost through with the first big revision push of my WIP. I only have about 30 pages to go, give or take, plus an extra chapter or two to write.

And I’m having a really hard time finishing.

This is only the first pass – I know I’m going to have at least two more – but I want to be done with the thing! I want it polished and off my plate. Or just locked away in my trunk. At this point I’m leaning toward the latter. I’ve lost all objectivity – I couldn’t tell you if it was good or not even if a date with Colin Firth was on the line.  And even worse, all I want is to move on to my next project or pick up the project I put away last year, or just find something completely different to work on. Every word in this WIP makes me cringe right now.

This book has been hard. So much harder than my last one. I know that’s because I’m so much more aware as a writer. I know it’s because it’s different from anything I’ve done before. And I know that as soon as I’m done with this huge plot revision, I’ll be able to focus on the details like character and setting. But right now it feels like an uphill slog through 15 inches of snow (God help – me we’re supposed to get that much tonight!)

So what do you guys do when you’re feeling disgusted and and tired of your WIP? Do you have any tips or tricks to get you over that hump and motivated to start working again?


  1. I spent a year and a half on my last WIP. The story is good…so far, I’m a good story teller. It’s all the stuff in between that’s a problem. Editing has been torture and I’ve quite literally shelved it because I lost my love for it. Compound that with a lack of interest in the vampire world at the moment and well…shelf booty.

    I will return to it as my head has been consumed with my new WIP. I sat down with a friend last night and laid it all out for her – plot twists and all and she literally bounced on the couch with excitement. But I still have a lot of work to do.

    I feel your pain…

    • Ouch – I hate when it gets bad enough you have to put it away. I finally had to do that with one of my WIPs too. But it sounds like you have something good on your hands if your friend was excited! Good luck with it! Maybe I’ll get to read some of it soon 🙂

  2. Oh, my God, I was totally there for the past month and a half! I’d just finished rewriting my YA dystopian (I threw away the original manuscript and REWROTE the entire thing) and I *hated* it. Couldn’t look at the pages, think about the characters, or even muster up any interest it. At. All.

    I generally get this way when I feel I’ve hit a roadblock or barrier in my skill development. I had thought, “Gee, this is the best I can do and it still sucks, so why bother?” By the grace of God and a knowledgeable crit partner, I learned that my gobbldegooked MS only needed modifying. I didn’t have to start over yet again. There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s more manageable now. For whatever reason, my CP was able to word her advice in a way that I could understand and because I’d had weeks away from the pages, I was able to “see” what she meant.

    So, I hear ya–it’s SO HARD! BUT, with time, you will see the path the MS is supposed to take.


    • Wow! Not that I’m glad you’ve been having such a hard time with your WIP, but I’m glad to see I’m not the only one having these problems 🙂 I think you’re right – it’s probably a skill issue – this guy is certainly stretching my writing ability. Thank god for CP’s eh???

      Good luck with your WIP! I hope the revisions go smoothly now!

  3. Ahhhh.. I just had 3 paragraphs written here, and right before I could post, my browser somehow closed!!

    Okay.. let me begin again 😀

    Trust me… I know exactly what you mean. I restarted this MS at least 3 or 4 times before I finally liked the direction it was heading. My characters abandoned me, the plot didn’t work, spacing was off… you name it.. it happened!

    The thing is though…. I think it happens because of what you mentioned above – growing as writers and becoming more aware. But because we’re more aware, we’re learning how to make it better and that’s always a good thing… even if we have to work harder, right?

    I know they say take a break after completing an MS, but maybe you can take a short break during the editing process. Or because you’re SO close, go back and re-read a few chapters before–what you’ve already edited–and see if it can inspire you to get back into it. Sometimes all it takes is fresh eyes, or a spark of an idea to lead you to that “ahah” moment.

    Whatever you do, don’t you dare lock it away! You’ve come so far and I know you can do it. You’ve written a whole book, you’re too close to let go 🙂

    I wish you the best – make sure you keep us posted!

    • Thanks so much for the good wishes – I definitley need them! LOL. I think you’re totally right about the break – I’m too close to it right now and it’s so hard to see the forest for the trees! I’m going to tuck it away for a few days and not feel guilty about it. Then when I come back to it next week, maybe I’ll feel refreshed and excited again. *fingers crossed*!!!

      But no worries – I’m going to finish the damn thing if it kills me! 😉

  4. This happens to me while writing the first draft, I’m kind of backwards that way. What I do is research or fill out a personal type questionaire on my characters to help me really get into them and add depth to my writing. It can work in the revision stage too! Taking a break to write a short story on a supporting character can really help too.

  5. I just send it to you and my other CPs. lol
    Seriously my WIP was the most boring thing in the world. But when you guys put comments on it, suddenly I see new things.

    Do you think maybe you do need a break?
    Or just send what you have to me and I’ll be your fresh eyes.

    • Yeah – I definitely think the break will help. I finally finished the first pass so it’s nice to have that little breather! But I can’t wait to see what you think too 🙂