Digging and kneading.

I’m working on a new novel and it feels ridiculously hard. I’d forgotten how frustrating first drafts can be. The blank page glares back at me, empty and demanding and much too white. Kind of like fluorescent lights. Those give me headaches too.

I mean, I don’t have a literal blank document anymore. I’ve got several thousand words of a beginning. I’ve trashed and rewritten these several thousand words multiple times now, in effort to pin down the right mood, the right tilt. Some days I love what I’ve got; some days I want to burn it all away. Y’know, just the usual.

But still. Scroll past what I’ve got, and there are hundreds of blank pages up ahead.

I was explaining to a friend the other day: for me, the first draft is digging up the clay and kneading it into something usable. The rewrites that follow are when I get to sculpt that bit of clay into something worth looking at.

I kind of hate the digging and kneading. I’m impatient. I want to fast forward to when I’m deep into Draft Three and finally figuring out what the book is really about.

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo begins. My goal for the month of April is 60,000 words on this new project. I have to keep reminding myself: gotta pound out that shitty first draft in order to have pieces to move around, edges to carve and smooth and carve again.

A couple things I’m experimenting with:

– Writing longhand. I’ve got a brand new Moleskine ready to be filled up with all the scribbles and arrows and novel doodles.

– A bullet journal, finally! I was going to start one at the beginning of January but I ended up too overwhelmed and let the idea flutter away. I’m finishing setting it up this evening. Not exactly following Ryder Carroll’s method — I’ve been really inspired by the various examples I’ve seen, charting out goals and progress alongside daily logs, going by their own invented formats. I decided: hey, I’m going to try some of that. We’ll see how it works.

And wow. We are a quarter of the way through 2016. What a terrifying thought.

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