Lately, I’ve noticed something different about how I approach early drafts.
No longer do I look for perfection.
Instead, I try to see the page in front of me at the moment.
Not how I might want it to look in its finished form.
How it looks now.
I no longer embark from shore expecting an early draft to appear fully formed on the page.
Rather, I treat the page like an artist’s canvas, and use the early draft as a chance to play with words the way an artist plays with colors.
Early drafts are about staying in the moment, breathing and noticing one’s breath, and finding a rhythm that brings the story to life.
In an early draft, it’s more important to hear a voice, I think, than to search for the shape of a story or worry about pacing or plot.
It’s a time for words to flow unrestrained, and for that to happen I have to let go.
A first draft is where I struggle with releasing the fears and anxieties that often control and constrain the flow of words.
It’s where I learn to breathe and notice how the words flow out of the breath...without judgment or criticism...without expectation or disappointment...without praise or approval.
Just words... flowing... and the feeling of them flowing through my pen onto the page.
And in the process of letting go, the draft somehow opens up... and I begin making discoveries about the characters and the plot and the pacing of the story which I can use as the foundation stones in subsequent drafts.
How do you approach early drafts?
Do they bring misery or joy?
When you get a moment, let us know.