That Snickering Second Draft

So the real reason behind all my procrastination this week (aside from planning the best birthday party EVER), is that I’m at the beginning of a second draft. I really, really hate starting second drafts. Once I get going, I usually enjoy them. It’s fun to think of myself as an artist, shading here, coloring there, adding and subtracting and shifting things until they’re just right. But it is a pain in the butt to get started on a second draft.

I get worried that I’m going to break whatever I did right in the first draft, and I have this needling suspicion that nothing was right in the first draft. But mostly, the second draft is supposed to be better. On a first draft I can get myself started by telling myself that it doesn’t matter, I’ll fix it later. Now I’m supposed to be fixing it. But I don’t magically become a better writer because I’m writing a second draft.

I remembered that I was having a very similar experience almost exactly one year ago. At that time I was participating in poem-a-day for the month of October, and I wrote a little piece on this very odd sensation, which I will share. Just ’cause.

A second draft laughs
Gone is the warm comfort
The reassurance that all writers
Write shitty first drafts
Now the words should breathe
Should live
Take their first tottering steps
Toward immortality.