Uma just published a blog post about the Literal, Tedious Novel Draft. I like the concept that a first draft can and should even be drafty, with holes in it. Far, far, far from perfect, and even terribly flawed. What matters, I’m told here and there, in workshops, in books, is to write that first “shitty” draft (in the words of Anne Lammot), to get the story out.
I applied that scrupulously while trying to last as long as I possibly could, during the last Nanowrimo challenge. Did not go back to re-re-re-read what I had just written, yesterday, the day before, the beginning. Just went on… And it was a good experience, if only because it taught me that I can actually do it (don’t laugh, for people like me, it’s a wild discovery and a real break-through.)
One of Uma’s tip to help us plow through and not give in to the temptation of going back to what’s already written, but rather to pick up where you left the day before and just go on, is to leave a note for yourself about what happens next.
I’d heard her say that before, and so, I tried to think: why have I not done this until now?
Very simple : I often start writing late in the morning (I’ve said this before : I’m NOT a morning person), which means I have little time before the kids come back from school, and then I use up every second until I hear the door bell. And then what? I bound to the door, because these girls just love to ring the bell endlessly until I show up, and by then, said bell already made me jump out of my skin anyway, and that’s it… Until tomorrow, where I return to what was written before, start judging it, deleting, editing, changing… and, and… plowing through? NOT!
So, I just had a light bulb moment. I need to set the alarm clock 5 to 10 mns before the return of the brood, so I can think about what comes next and write said note to myself. Beginning today. Let’s see how this works for me.