The First Draft

The part about writing that always confuses, the writing.

We write, because, well…it’s what we do. There’s nothing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, definitely not my day-job. I don’t want to be slinging drinks at 50.

I have books by King, Maass and one or two by K.M. Weiland, not to mention Strunk & White.

These books have gathered at my desk for an intervention.

They’re not in a pile, they merely litter my desk like paperback landmines.

One or two sit open, they’re pages alight in streams of fading sun filtering through the blinds.

I see a few of my notes about this, that or the other and find myself drunk from the new knowledge of outlines, plot and character dissection, which oddly sounds like some medieval torture.

I’ve never been fond of these books, but my writing, well it’s on the verge of discovering what landfill flies actually eat, don’t ask.

The headaches are back, the stress of not getting things on the page, when I desperately need the release.

The little synapses are firing, but there’s not much to fire into when the stories are stuck in a no man’s land surrounded by paperback landmines, gas canisters of regret and bullets made of that little gooey stuff that comes out of bugs when you squish them.

I see the books, they’re little bugs telling me to do things I don’t want to do. Outline, plot, character dissection and a myriad of other little things my heart doesn’t want, but my mind keeps telling me, “Listen up, it will help.”

My heart is torn between what my writing wants and what my mind knows needs to happen.

I’ve read all the books, done some of the exercises, but that doesn’t feel like enough tonight. The pillow calls, but I’d rather wrap it around my head with barbwire than leave the desk, because I’m a writer and I have to write.

The writing doesn’t come, it spurts and spills like fresh blood from an artery, cascading across the page in large arcs.

The arcs begin small, but then, something amazing happens…I begin to write.

There are times we have to ignore our research that says, “you need to learn more about the topic” and keep writing.

My current story has taken me into quantum theory, multiverse and to places I’ve heard of but never read about.

These things are a little bit beyond my pay grade, but I’m learning about them…slowly.

I want the story to be good and believable, but sometimes you have to wing it and come back after the first draft to get things done the they need to be.

Like I said before, the first draft is fast and frenetic and stopping to clarify a few things will throw you off and break the stream of writing that you’ve got going.

Writing is hard, but the first draft is all discovery; your characters, your setting, the environment, mood and all the little stuff.

When you have the first draft done, come back after a few weeks, or months and read it again to see what needs fixed, but the only way to get to that point is busting the first draft out in the first place.

The first draft is the magical place of writing, everything else is the work.

Our first draft is always furious and frenetic. It comes out like storm gathering on a plateau and when it’s ready, it pours out of us like a massive supercell destroying what we thought we were capable of and making us think twice about why we write, but in a good way.

We’re sometimes not prepared for the strength pouring from our fingers and it can frazzle our minds and make us drink more coffee or maybe something stronger.

The best part of writing is the first draft, the pace seems impossible to sustain, the breadth of the story amazes us and the characters and their lives remind us why we love to write.

Pacing of the story isn’t our worry in a first draft or spelling, grammar or whether we get the characters names correct, it’s all about the discovery.

Each story happens this way and we keep writing because we love how much our beautiful stories fascinate us.

From the opening sentence to The End, we’re mesmerized by the story.

Finding ourselves wrapped up in the writing, ignoring everything but discovering who these characters are and why they’ve been in our head is the best part of the first draft.

We never have a greater time than the frenetic courtship of the first draft.