The process of writing first drafts is a lot like climbing a mountain for the first time according to C.C. Humphreys, an author who spoke to Willamette Writers recently. He’s written eleven novels with more to come and he speaks with that charming British accent, easy listening.
I heard the Nietzsche quote (post from two days earlier) from him, but he said it like this: You must have chaos within who gives birth to a dancing star.
I have chaos within and without, so I felt rather encouraged, how you want to feel when you are writing a first draft and listening to one who has gone before you several times.
This is not my first draft. But it is one of the first I am close to finishing, or so I hope. The thing about calling a first draft finished is, how do you know it is finished? It is far from complete…
I decided on this definition: If it has a beginning, middle, and end; even though I know some scenes are missing, and some scenes are crap, I can call it complete, and set it aside until I’m ready to begin revision.
Revision is Ascent #2 up the mountain. I’ve already seen the view from the top and know what I’m aiming for. I’ve got some experience climbing and have even developed some endurance. I can now search out the best possible route.
Meanwhile, I’m still slogging my way through my first draft, but also running in places… nearing the top.
How about you? Have you stopped to take a siesta? It might be time to get going again. Stay in the game, even if it is just a few phrases or paragraphs.
See you at the top. Or on the way back down.