The Cure For What Ails Me

It’s been a long day (a long week so far actually) at the day job, so I don’t know that this will be a long post.  That said, I’ve started posts before thinking that and found myself quickly in the 600+ word range and not done yet, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m apparently one of those verbose people you hear about. 😀

In spite of yesterday being the worst Monday of the year (for those of us who do the whole stupid daylight savings time thing), I managed to come home and continue working on editing Possession. It’s kind of good that I did because, as often seems to be the case, doing anything with writing seems to recharge me and wash away the crap from the work day.  Even better, I finished.  Yes, rewriting the ending and all, I’m done the first pass.  I’m quite a lot happier with the ending now, though it still probably needs some work as it’s pretty much first draft and includes a carefully sculpted conversation that I don’t think is quite right yet.  But I’ll get there, and this was a necessary first step toward getting there.  Like the rest of the first draft, really.

I’m really delighted to find that, having learned the lesson that the first draft is just that, a stepping stone and doesn’t have to be perfect or even publishable, I haven’t forgotten it.  I’ve done that enough in the past that I was a bit worried, forgotten a hard-won lesson I mean, but this one I’ve totally internalized.  It’s just a start, giving you something to work with.  That it won’t be remotely as good as you want isn’t the point at all.  The point is that if you don’t have that first draft, you can’t get to the final, quality draft that you will proudly send out into the world.

It’s kind of important for me to keep that in mind, in many ways.  For one thing, I can be a total perfectionist, especially when it comes to anything related to myself.  Beyond that, as I get into more ambitious projects, things that are more complex, the first draft will be a jumping off point more than anything else.  In some ways, that happened with the Mirrors trilogy, of course.  I mean, I wrote the first draft of the first book and threw it out the next day as I realized that there were fundamental problems.  But that draft was part of me finding out how things worked for this story and the world I was creating.  In a way, doing that has already paid dividends in the writing of the second book, and I’m sure it will continue to do so as I work toward and through book 3.  If I have to do that with every trilogy or series I ever write, well, I can live with that I think.  As long as I get something more out of it than a filed draft that I never look at again, I can view it as a productive use of time.

So, now what? Yeah, you guessed.  Possession goes back in the drawer.  Knowing me, it’ll be just until next weekend, but I may try to stretch it to the one after.  It’ll depend on a number of factors, all having to do with what I might need to do this coming weekend.  If I have little to occupy my attention, well, boredom and inactivity breed impatience for me.  I’ll probably spend the next couple of days working on the outline for The Nine, and I’m fairly sure I have the skeleton of the rest down, so that may be done by the end of the week if all I need to do is flesh it out in that outline.  In that case, though, you can count on the impatience thing rearing it’s head, as that would be two things in the mystic drawer (Possession and the outline for The Nine), which usually causes me to grab the last thing put in there and work on it anyway.  I know, I’m bad. I accept that about myself.

In the spirit of continuing to encourage spring to show up as early as possible, here’s another shot from last spring in downtown Vancouver.  I’m entirely shameless in my dislike of winter, and the snowflakes that I saw falling here are making me really want to point out to spring that showing up any time now will work just fine for me.  I did survive the snow, and it’s all gone now, but that’s not the point.  I object to snow being anywhere but the ski slope.  Maybe that’s why I moved here. 🙂

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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10 Responses to The Cure For What Ails Me

  1. Em says:

    I’m so very proud of you! Can’t wait to read it. 😀 I’m hoping that your pics are also making spring show up early here too…so far it seems to be working.

    Many congratulatory hugs!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks, but I’m not sure when it’s going to be ready for that. By the time it is, I have a feeling you’re going to be too sleep deprived for reading. Besides, you can’t have book 2 until you’re done the first one.

      At least I have bright sunlight streaming through the window right now, which feels spring-like. That said, I’d still rather have the real thing…

  2. gabriellan says:

    We all have to learn that first-draft lesson at some point, and while it may be a hard-learned lesson, it’s certainly freeing after the fact 🙂

  3. Another daylight-savings hater here. Grr. It messes with my mind . . .

    Hm, I really should keep in mind that “first draft is just a first” idea. I don’t pay enough attention to that, actually. But anyway I continue to be amazed at how fast you go with everything. You’re amazing, really.

    Oh, and spring is already here in Texas, and the only snow we got this winter was about ten minutes of falling flakes that didn’t last. I did have to go out and run around through it –we don’t get much snow, haha 🙂

    • Julie says:

      To me, learning to just get the first draft done and worry about good enough later is what NaNoWriMo is all about. It was certainly the biggest lesson I took away from it last November. A willingness to embrace that idea is the best gift you can give yourself as a writer, in my less than humble opinion. It never means you don’t want to do better, but it acknowledges that no matter how hard you try, your first draft will not be your last, it won’t be perfect, but it will be done.

      Oh, and you had to rub in the kind of weather Texas gets, didn’t you?

  4. Sally Panayiotou says:

    Grr, daylight saving. My first day back to work after maternity week after next not only do I have to contend with getting up a couple of hours earlier, but my body will think it’s an hour earlier as well – here’s to a productive first day back! I can’t believe how much writing you get done with a full time job as well – any time you allow yourself a break?!

    • Julie says:

      Ouch. Well, I hope the return to work goes smoothly and isn’t too hard on you, even if the timing could have been better.

      As for me taking a break, not really. I do sometimes get less done, usually when I’m either tired or busy with other things. Or when I’m just outlining, like last night. Those are days where I do less obvious work because I’m noticing it works better when I let my brain do it’s own thing and then inform me of the results 🙂 The truth is I’m just happier when I’m busy with writing. Until that changes, my plan is to just go with it.

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