Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First Drafts

Sometimes, when I face a first draft, the daunting, bridge-less white gaps of story, I feel overwhelmed. I think, this is the worst part of writing. This is the conjuring. Every word, every sentence, an angry miracle.

Other times, the empty spaces feel like possibilities and I marvel in them. I send strands of story as far as I can. I circle them into messy, tangled nests that I hope will one day become functional.

I often count words and days. I wonder when I'll reach an end. I make deadlines. I think if I can finish a draft before this but after that, I will be on track to get here so I can get there. Because if I don't get there I'll never be anywhere and who, in their right mind, would want that?

I add. I divide. I carry the one. I try to understand how long it will take to finish.



The old chant.

So much of my creative life, measured in the completion of words, rather than the actual practice of finding them.

Today, I thought, this is the best part of writing. The actual, well, writing. The wandering and wishing through a story I didn't know I knew. The waiting for words, however agonizing.

I think there's certainly something to be said for completing a work. For thumbing through the pages of a printed manuscript. For being able to say, I did it.

But, today, I feel even more satisfaction as I sit with all the words ahead of me and say, I'm doing it. 


  1. You describe the process so much more poetically than I do!
    I have always described first drafts as a "road trip from hell with total strangers." ;)

  2. You are doing it! I can see and feel it here too, so I'm sure it's wonderful on the page. I actually love the drafting. It's the revising and editing that take me down a slippery slope.

  3. Love your first paragraph, especially. Though I still prefer revision to drafting, I too want to spend more time enjoying the journey of conjuring or receiving or channeling (or whatever it is we do) the story and not be focused on whether I got a good word count that day.

  4. I really enjoy revising, getting deeper into the story and adding layers of meaning. First drafts have always been torture for me (after that first I'm-in-love-with-my-shiny-new-idea blush wears off). I'm glad you found a different perspective. Go for it!