Any author will tell you that getting past that first crappy draft of your latest novel will keep you awake at night. In my case, it keeps my husband awake.
“Jim, wake up! Wake up! You haven’t read those latest chapters have you? I hope not because I’m changing everything. Too many fantasy elements. I didn’t like it. You didn’t read it, did you?”
“What? Huh? What time is it?”
“It’s 1:30 in the morning? What’s the matter with you?”
“It’s been bothering me all night. I’ve got to get up and make changes first thing in the morning.”
“So why did you wake me up?”
“I just wanted to be sure you haven’t read it. And make sure that you don’t read it until I fix it.”
“It’s 1:30. I’m not going to look at anything except the inside of my eyelids. Goodnight.”
“You’re not going to forget that we had this conversation and then get up and read it while I’m still sleeping, are you?”
“Probably not. Goodnight.”
“Because I wouldn’t want you to read it with that fantasy element. I knew it as soon as I wrote it. It didn’t fit.”
This kind of conversation takes place during the entire extent of my first draft writing. It can include the following:
“I don’t think the character names are right.”
“Uh-huh. Go to sleep.”
“Did I have too much detail? Was it boring?”
“I don’t remember. Goodnight.”
“I’m not sure if I want the killer to stalk them. What do you think?”
“About what? Go to sleep.”
And on it goes until the lousy first draft is finally done and I can move on to revisions and rewrites. Come to think of it, I wake my husband up for those, too. No wonder people in the dog park at 7:00 A.M. ask him if the dog kept him up all night. And he always says the same thing.
“Not the dog. It must have been one of the cats. They can be so annoying and demanding when you’re trying to sleep.”
I just smile and offer to make a coffee run!