Daft at the draft.

I want to enter a short story competition. I have a few ideas about what to write. Well, two ideas. They are vastly different to each other which is why I may be having trouble starting. Actually, the reason I am having trouble starting is because I have trouble starting everything. Anything. “Overthink” is an understatement when it comes to me. I have a really vivid interior monologue going on all the time and I can never get anything out of my head and into the world. It’s causing me problems. I think all the time. ALL the time. But I never actually do anything. I have vivid pictures in my head of all the things I will do, could do, should do, want to do, am able to do, have the potential to do. Day-changing things. Finance-changing things. Happiness-changing things. Self-esteem-changing things. Life-changing things. No, that is not overstating it.

I became obsessed with JK Rowling this week. She is so insightful. Actually, she is just such a goddamned hard worker. (I think I am afraid of hard work. How did this happen?) She knew what she wanted to do and she slogged away at it until she bloody well did it. The idea came to her on a train journey and she didn’t even have a pen to write it down. I tell my children stories all the time. They love them. People tell me I should write them down. Then I try to write them down and I literally can’t get a word onto a page. I spoke at length at [sic] a friend of mine about a topic I was passionate about. I think I literally spoke for half an hour straight and laid down some compelling, well reasoned argument. “You should write that all down,” she said, “in an article at least.” I think I managed to get a sentence or two down and then kaputski. Nothing.

[Two-year-old just asked to do a wee. Good boy!]

Someone suggested that I start with a skeleton, some high-level ideas, and then flesh it out. I can’t even get the thoughts to hang together in a straight line. Did JK Rowling start with a plan? What does a first draft even look like? In high school I got straight A+s for all my English and English Literature assignments and exams, and I don’t think I redrafted a single one. That sounds terribly obnoxious and full of myself, but it has caused a real problem for me. I’ve never learned how to work. REALLY work. You know, plug away at something, hone it, craft it, until I’ve gotten it just right. The art of the draft. Maybe high-school English is as good as I will ever be? Talk about peaking early.

[Sister’s umbrella just got stolen from right under her nose. Arsehole. Who DOES shit like that??]

But I’m writing now. Maybe these exercises help? I’ll try another one. I will try to be disciplined about it. One per day? Nah. My friend F says ‘just write when you can’. So I will.


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