So today over at Writers Plot, Doranna Durgan wrote a great post on first drafts, in which she talks about how she tends to get lost in that world of her own creation to the frequent exclusion of the “real world”. This really resonates with me because when I’m in the throes of First Draftdom, the world recedes. I paused this morning to dig out my desk, which has become a catch all, to pay bills (thankfully NOT overdue!), make a couple of phone calls, clean the house (having people over for dinner–nothing better to get your butt in gear to clean house), catch up on laundry, etc. My poor husband…he frequently gets annoyed because though I am in the same room (I have learned to write while the TV is running, Guitar Hero being played, actual guitar being played, etc.), I am entirely somewhere else in mind, and he often accuses me of not listening. Well of course I’m not listening! I’m not really THERE! And then, of course, I get annoyed because he pulls me out of my world, which sometimes breaks my rhythm. We’re still learning to co-exist as daily writing writer and spouse.
But I love the heady excitement of first drafts because first drafts mean possibilities in a way that nothing else can compete with. There are, of course, possibilities when you revise, but not in that same infinite manner. By revisions you already have a framework, so even if parts of the plot change, you’re limited. First drafts are always like first love for me. I want to drown in them, in the characters and the world I create, to the exclusion of everything else more reality based. And why not? Real life is often dull by comparison.
In first drafts (at least for this pantser) you never know what adventure you’re going to get into, and that’s so fun to me. There’s the fun of meeting our hero and heroine and the thrill of introducing them to each other. There’s romance, suspense, adventure….and it goes on for weeks, months (however long it takes you to write one). It’s like the ideal entertainment. It’s a real thrill! So here’s to the first draft! I should get back to mine….
I would never have considered first drafts entertainment – but now that I think about it – first drafts are always in the back of my mind, no matter where I am. I always want to have a piece of paper in my pocket and a pencil to jot down something fun – and that’s the thing, I guess: It IS fun.
While the real world is necessary (and all that) creating worlds and characters and scenes is countless times more fun (and generally doesn’t cost much).
I don’t seem to work through a first draft in the same way she does, but what struck me about the post was how being that into the writing affected her. I think she comes as close as I’ve ever read to describing what it’s like for me when I get sucked so far into my characters and their world that it’s hard for me to get back out again. That feeling of disconnectedness, of unreality regarding _this_ world, that general muddled state… This often disturbs me partly because a lot of the physical sensation is similar to what I get from acute anxiety, but also because I feel like I should be able to cope better, to switch back and forth more easily, more cleanly. So what I loved about the post was both that clearly, someone experiences that to a similar degree, and that she put such a positive spin on something that hasn’t always been easy for me to handle.