On finishing a first draft…

Almost there! The ending is in my heart and, at this point more important, in my head. I’m pushing aside all the things I know I will have to go back and fix, cut, add, just keeping that ending within my sights.

Well, that’s what I wish I was doing. In fact I’m still having too many moments when I make characters walk in and out of rooms, slump into chairs or bolt to their feet, tap their chins and furrow their brows: in other words, stall.

A quote I came across this morning in Poets and Writers (procrastinating? me?):

“When I am stuck in the perfection cog—as in, I am rewriting a sentence a million times over even though I’m in a first draft or, I am freaking out and can’t move forward because I am not sure how everything is going to fit together—I find it helpful to tell myself: You will fail. I have this written on a Post-it note. It might sound discouraging, but I find it very liberating. The idea is that no matter what I do, the draft is going to be flawed, so I might as well just have at it. I also like to look at pictures I’ve taken of all the many drafts that go into my books as they become books, which helps me remember that so much of what I am writing now will later change. When I am aware that my work is not as brave or true as it needs to be, I like to look at a particular photograph of myself as a child. I am about eight, sitting on a daybed in cut-off shorts, with a book next to me. I’m looking at the camera with great confidence, and an utter lack of self-consciousness. This photograph reminds me of who I am at my essence, and frees me up to write more like her.”
—Anna Solomon, author of Leaving Lucy Pear (Viking, 2016) http://www.pw.org/content/anna_solomon_0

Thank you, Anna. And now back to work…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.