Except... I've yet to meet another writer who writes the way I do, with years of care and attention to that first draft, and having it be the very core of the story, only needing very small changes plot-wise. What I've heard from other writers varies between considering all first drafts to be garbage or thinking of them as only a light road map that will undergo a lot of changes. I also seem to work a lot slower than most writers, needing lots of recovery time if I push too hard. I know NaNo can be a great motivator for some people, but just the idea of it almost makes me sick with anxiety. I have discovered over the years that pressure does not motivate me. It breaks me, utterly and completely.
I don't know why my writing process is so different, but it's just the way I've always written. And it's what works for me. When I try to compare myself to other writers and their processes, it doesn't help motivate me to work harder. At best, I get a lot of work done over a few days but only end up completely drained and sick for weeks afterward. So, I really need to stop that.
Besides, the way I work has its benefits, too. Maybe I "lose time" relying on being rested and inspired to work, but what I end up with might need less polishing overall. All the time that goes into my first drafts has allowed me to be very confident in working on my second drafts. The second draft of Magic Inc. has gone amazing well, and I honestly believe it will only need a few read-throughs and small fixes before it will be ready.
But I have to admit, the second draft of Dreaming in Shadow has been a little more of a struggle. I still think it's going really, really well. But it's been a slower, more troublesome process. Between March and December, I've typed and revised 12 full chapters of Magic Inc. In that same time, I've only finished one full chapter of Dreaming in Shadow. It is a very long chapter, to be fair. Well, in comparison to the length I normally hit. But I think I know why this draft is progressing so differently than Magic Inc.'s.
First off, as of right now, I believe I will be publishing Dreaming in Shadow before Magic Inc., even though Magic Inc. will likely be done a lot sooner. Dreaming in Shadow was the first idea that overtook me, begging to be written. And I decided, nearly 10 years ago when that happened, that it was meant to be my first novel. So, I'm trying extra hard to make this the best draft it can possibly be. And that might be slowing me down a little. There's also a lot of exposition in the first couple of chapters, which has needed extensive pruning and revision. Most of the first quarter of this book was written nearly 10 years ago, and even though I've gone over those early parts several times, it still needs the most work. The earliest parts of Magic Inc. were only three years old when I started the second draft. I've also been trying to get more opinions on Dreaming in Shadow. So far, it's been hard to find people who have enough time and interest. But Jill gave me some feedback on what I had of chapter 2, and a few minor changes made me feel so much better about it.
There's still work to be done on both of these stories, for certain, but I think what I have is actually very good. I don't think I've ever felt as confident about my writing as I do about these second drafts. Will they ever be perfect? No. But nothing really can be objectively perfect, anyhow. I'll make them the best they can be. Meaning, I'll create in the way that produces my best results, which includes making plenty of room for rest and trying very hard to not compare my process to anyone else's.
And, somewhere between here and perfection, I'll be ready to share my novels with the world.