I feel a draft...and it's rough.


Yesterday, after a blazin', bangin', bitchin' four months of work and rework, I sent my agent the finished first draft of my novel in progress. It tuly terrified me to drag this baby bird from the nest -- hairless, squirming, no more able to fly than a baby hamster -- and flop it out on the table.

Ten minutes later, I felt compelled to follow up with a reminder from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird:
Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third, drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

Comments

I secretly want to strangle those writers who claim they're just taking dictation from God. Because for me, it's all about the angst.

Congrats on finishing your draft! I know you've been working your tail off to get it done.

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