Most of my past year has been spent editing and revising, but for the past two days, I’ve been able to write fresh stuff for a shiny new project. Oh, drafting, how I love thee.
Really, is there anything more freeing than starting with a newborn idea and exploring? Every scene, every line, every character’s reaction is a discovery. Everything is sparkling and new.
This isn’t a post about plotting vs. pantsing, but I’ll just mention that I’m somewhere in the middle of those two approaches to writing. I have a general idea of the plot and story arc, but what happens within scene is a complete mystery to me until I start writing it. So when I write a scene, I have to listen to my characters to figure out what’s going to happen.
Some may find the blank page intimidating. Not me. All that white space lets me more easily visualize that movie in my mind that my muse is creating. I often feel more like the person taking dictation from my muse than the actual author of these stories. The next morning, I’ll reread what I wrote and think, “I wrote that? I don’t remember writing that.” (You have to imagine that in an impressed voice and not the horrified kind of voice that follows drunk texting.)
But that’s why I love drafting. It’s when I feel closest to my muse. It’s when I can take risks with my writing and see where they lead. It’s when I feel most in touch with my dreams.
That freedom of drafting is why many of us choose to write. It might be the hard work of editing that separates the hobby writers from those who want to make it their career, but how many of us started writing because we just couldn’t wait to revise our work? None. I thought so.
For me, drafting is like the initial excitement when you start a new relationship. There’s no baggage, no exes or in-laws to worry about, no socks left on the floor to ratchet up your pet peeve meter. It’s more like when you first stay up until 4am talking because you suddenly want to know everything there is to know about this person and want to hear their entire life history. And no matter how mundane or trivial the information, it’s all fascinating.
So I’ll get back to the work of editing soon. But for now, I’m enjoying the lust of this new relationship—and the rush of drafting.
Does drafting thrill or terrify you? What are your favorite things about drafting? What are your least favorite things about drafting?