Drafting, Messy Kitchens, and the Fragility of Life

I’m working on a new project. I’ve written a summary and created character profiles (after a furious vetting process). I think I even discovered the core of the story.

I went on long walks.

I stared into space.

I daydreamed . . .

Now, the time has come where I need to stop thinking and write my first draft.

I confess, I hate writing a first draft. Planning is all kinds of fun, revision has moments of glory, but the first draft? Well, it’s so dreadful and unknown. I’m awkward, like I’m on a first date not sure of what to do or say. I want my writing to be perfect, but what I see on the page is so far from the beauty I first saw in my mind.

You know what I’m talking about: You envision Rembrandt, but you can’t even manage a proper stick figure.

So, here’s what I do when I have to start a first draft:

I PROCRASTINATE

This needs tidying!

There’s vacuuming to do, baking, organizing drawers, bathtubs to be scrubbed, and, of course, all sorts of day job issues to obsess over and suck up my time.

This past week was particularly stressful with all sorts of real world stuff to distract me—day job dramas, the holidays . . .

This past week I also learned the horrible news of the untimely death of a beautiful and talented young woman. I still can’t quite believe I’ll never see her again.

So, this morning I got up at five and opened a new document.

I wrote.

I know it will not be perfect. I will get stuck, and I will wander away from my desk from time to time to do Absolutely Necessary Chores; however, the story has begun, the characters talk, and things happen. Eventually, I will finish.

This past week’s tragedy is a reminder of the value of each passing hour.

I know how I should be spending my time.

I will write this book.

Onward!

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