*This post was written on January 26, 2011 and originally appeared on my old blog
To all the authors out there who wax poetic about the beauty and joy of first drafting … what are you people on? What drugs can I get that will make the pain of staring at a blinking cursor and a blank page but a distant memory? I’ve been writing this book for months now, and almost none of it has been joyful.
Maybe writing a first draft is like a less-messy version of giving birth (though with the paper cuts, there’s certainly still blood). During, you think nothing could ever hurt worse or scare you more. You vow that you will NEVER. DO. THIS. AGAIN. and if someone could just make this stop and escort you to the beach, you would do anything for them, no matter how vulgar or inappropriate. ANYTHING. And maybe you’d let them film it. Then it’s over, and a day later you’re telling your friends it’s not that bad. No really, not that bad! Get a week away and you’re already giddy about doing it over again, forgetting about the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the threats of violence to anyone who enters the room.
Talk to me tomorrow, and maybe I’ll be there. Today I’m just an empty shell of a writer. Perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten about 4 hours of sleep each night for the past four nights. When I finally do lay down in bed, exhausted and covered in paper cuts from editing, I can’t quite drift off like I want to. You see, I can’t make it stop. My brain keeps going, narrating away, quoting dialogue and cataloging action. It’s *gasp* telling, not showing!
Only it’s not narrating my book.
No, I have an inner narrator who clears his voice and starts narrating my life. He sounds like a mixture of Steve Martin in Father of the Bride and Daniel Stern in The Wonder Years. My inner narrator really likes to focus on all the things I’ve done wrong, all the mistake, pitfalls, and fails I’ve experienced. He likes to point out all the times over the last month when I could have been working, but instead was flitting about like a frivolous child. Remember that time you took a whole day off to play in the snow? Remember all those emails you sent? Remember that time you video chatted?!?! He likes to tell me all the shit I did wrong and all the shit I’m about to do wrong. And when he’s run out of those things, he likes to narrate me playing roller derby and getting annihilated for an entire bout.
My inner narrator is kind of an asshole, is what I’m saying.
So talk to me tomorrow, my first day post-deadline. Maybe then I’ll be hyped about the miracle of life that is the first draft. Today? Today I just want to drink ALL THE DRINKS and then sleep for days.