First Draft Hesitation

First Draft Hesitation

Why is it so easy to get stuck between pre-writing and beginning?

Pre-writing is safe. It’s like picking wildflowers–not much effort and lots of reward. You watch your little cluster of ideas grow into a pretty bouquet. It’s tempting to stay in this happy-go-lucky stage and just smell the flowers…

Writing–especially beginning to write–is scary. It’s a free-fall into the invisible parallel universe of creativity. There’s the tummy-tumbling sensation of plummeting into darkness, grasping for something, clutching at anything, only to find bruised petals crushed between sweaty fingers.

Eventually, there’s a bump and a stumble as the writer and the magic collide. Then, finally, the story takes off.

It happens, but it requires the courage to let go and fall.

Sweating at the Brink

My fingers hover over the keyboard. I feel like my heart is jammed beneath my larynx. Seconds tick by.

I’m ready–so ready I’m over-ready. I’ve researched and read, sketched and jotted. I’ve got tables of characters and cultural artefacts. I know my plot points and emotional arcs. I’ve denuded an entire square acre of colourful ideas, and yet I hesitate, dreading the inevitable uncertainty.

What if I can’t find the magic this time?

The Remedy

Telling a story is not half as scary as writing one. That’s why Sir Terry’s quote is so helpful.

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. –Terry Pratchett

First drafts are a journey, not a destination. Now is not the time to think about books and publishing contracts and literary perfection; it’s time to take a deep breath, leap in, and sink into the story.

Now, for the plunge. Wish  me luck!

2 responses to “First Draft Hesitation”

  1. Rebecca Sheraton Avatar
    Rebecca Sheraton

    Great advice. We’re meant to discover our story in the first draft

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written Ali. I am so looking forward to seeing your books in print one day.


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