Someone mentioned that the first draft of a story is written for the author, as she or he works out the story. Then in revision, the author works out how to best express the story to someone else—the reader.
I had a “well duh” moment when I read that. It makes perfect sense. It fits what I see in my own first drafts. I’ve made the mistake of trying to polish first drafts, and it always results in a subpar story. Part of the challenge of writing is finding what works for you. There is no forumla. It’s a journey of self-exploration, discovering the things that work for you and the things that do not. Like anything worthwhile, it takes effort and dedication. Ultimately, if you remain persistent in your endeavors, you will prevail.