As writers we forget that we are human first, writers second, and if your married, being a writer moves lower down on that list. Add children to this mix and you slide even lower on the priority list. Unless of course you are of the lucky few who actually earn a living by writing then you need to schedule writing in between all the other tasks that you have to attend to. In my attempts at becoming a better writer I’ve read a large volume of material, some of the pieces from great writers, others from writers in the making. Today I’ve read that Gore Vidal had died. Did I know who Gore Vidal was before today… nope. Does that make me a bad person, or worse, a bad writer? Should we not try and learn from the best to improve ourselves. I’d say yes, but since I’ve never read a line, correction, thanks to Writer’s Digest, several quotes from Mr Vidal, but also none of his actual books. I am saved from having to find some of his works since it seems Mr Vidal would have chosen a vocation instead of the word smith’s bench and more specifically a plumber.
On the same site I found advice to aspiring writers on how to manage fear. At point four on their list the state “Put perfection in its place” the statement is made to switch from ‘perfect’ manuscript to ‘finished’ manuscript thinking. I know, for myself, this would be an immense help, since I’ve been caught in what in my chosen profession, which is not writer by the way, is called ‘analysis-paralysis’, I’ve been fighting the vain battle of the ‘perfect’ opening line. Now it would seem that getting it on paper, at least in first draft form, will set the tracks for the rest of the revisions. This first draft becomes the skeleton on which to hang the flesh of a truly crafted story to enthrall and ensnare the senses of your readers.
I also just flashed back to Sean Connery from the movie “Finding Forrester” where he, as the mentor to the aspiring writer says something to the effect: ‘…get it on paper. We revise later. Rhythm boy, feel the rhythm of the strokes” Most of us of course don’t have the tactile sensation of feeling metallic arms striking the paper rolled over a drum, but the click of the keys on our keyboards with the tell-tale broader sound of the space bar keeping time, is our own rhythm. So for us all we need to get that first draft done. Think finished draft. Not perfect draft. So hopefully I can get my first draft done before too long. So let the light in and see the finished draft as Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”