Sunday, February 12, 2012

Note to Self: Loosen Up

That's what I've been telling myself lately, again and again (and again). It's kind of ridiculous because I've done this before. Why hasn't my brain absorbed it yet?

First drafts aren't supposed to be pretty. I
know this. I've written about it in past posts. Yet I have to remind myself every time I work through a new first draft.

It helps me to think about Anne Lamott's words in
BIRD BY BIRD and to truly view my draft as the sh**ty first draft. It helps me to remember that I need to get all the clay on the wheel before I can shape it.

How about you? Do you have to remind yourself to loosen up? Or is there something else you have to remind yourself to do?

* * *

This is Thistle reminding me that he needs his ears rubbed.
He often sleeps on a doggy bed behind me when I write, but when I've been working too long (in his opinion) . . .

Look at those eyes, at that face. And he's sooo sweet. Do you see why I love him so much?


storyqueen said...

That's kind of why I like to work without much of an outline. If I KNOW what is going to happen, I might write in a predictable manner. But if I haven't figured it out yet, I'm just writing wildly.

Sometimes the wild writing is the best.


Dawn Simon said...

Shelley, I've been outlining more with each manuscript. Maybe I need to go back to my wilder days. ;) Seriously, I totally get what you're saying. Thanks!

Michelle Dennis Evans said...

I'm a pantsa.. if I have a 1 page outline.. its a lot! lol

Steven J. Wangsness said...

I've been an editor much of my professional life, so I don't mind too much if the first draft is crap -- it means I have something to build on. Getting the first draft done is my problem.

(Dawn: Since I put my novel TAINTED SOULS up on Kindle a few weeks ago, I'm now blogging under my real name, instead of Travener at the Big Litowski, though I continued to blog there, no longer quite so anonymously.

Margaret Nevinski said...

Boy, is this blog post timely! This morning I was writing a new scene, and I could feel my fingers tightening up on the keyboard. I needed to loosen up. Those of us who are perfectionists (how deadly for writing) have to remind ourselves to loosen up often, especially with first drafts. Dawn, thanks for the photo of Thistle to remind us. Watching my cats sleep helps too!

Dawn Simon said...

Michelle the Pantsa, that's pretty loose! :) It's cool that there isn't one right way, you know?

Steven/Travener, yeah, I'm fine with an ugly first draft, but I have to keep reminding myself it's okay with each manuscript--and several times within each manuscript. Yeesh.

Margaret my crit buddy and sister in perfectionism, I'm glad it was timely. Fun that you commented on Thistle since he's so crazy for you. :)

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Okay, yes, I have to remind myself that my first drafts can't and won't be perfect. HOWEVER. When it comes time to revise, I am very grateful that I don't make a total and complete mess of them the first time. Sure, I draft quite slow, but it's not a race, right?

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Angelina! You're right--it's not a race. I also totally understand what you're saying because, as a plotter, I'm sure outlining has saved me so much time. I guess each of us has to find that happy place, where we're comfortable and productive and creating our best work. I'm thinking that place may not only vary from writer to writer but, at times, from manuscript to manuscript. I know I like an outline to guide me, though I stay open to forks in the road that might better my story, things that come up organically that I wouldn't have discovered without writing my way in. I also know I have to give myself permission to suck.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! :)

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I love Bird by Bird. I read her chapter on first drafts many times as I wrote mine. It's hard not to edit as you go. Good luck! Your pup is so cute.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Yay for Dawn! You won my contest so I have some goodies to send you.

Can you email me your address at thorntonstephanie at hotmail dot com?


And Thistle is darn cute!

Dawn Simon said...

Ghenet, that's totally the chapter I've reread the most! And it is so hard not to edit as you go.

Stpehanie, woooooo-hooooooo! I'm so excited! Thank you!!

And thanks for complimenting Thistle. I'll pass him the messages. ;)

Medeia Sharif said...

I need to loosen up. I'm working on a draft, and sometimes it's so hard to get into the spirit of typing up a brand new chapter, allowing it to not be perfect or up to par with my vision.

Thistle is adorable. My cats sleep behind me when I write.

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Medeia! Exactly! It's so perfect in the vision, isn't it? Cute about your cats. :)

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Yes, I often have to remind myself to loosen up too. That's what I appreciated about doing Nano this year ... I didn't have time to worry about whether it was any good or not. I just had to write. Ha ha! But I think that book is going take the most revising of ANY book I have ever written. It's a big mess. So maybe it is good to take some pains and worry along the way, I don't know! :) Keep going!!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I wish I was funnier. :( I have a hard time inserting humor into my writing. I think it's because I'm generally a serious person. UGH!