“So how’s your book coming along?”
An old friend asked me that question yesterday as we stood around avoiding farewells before he headed up to Virginia, where he’d recently relocated.
The answer I used to give was, “The draft is moving along at a good clip, if you overlook the dust it’s collecting.” But it’d been so long since someone had asked that I stumbled over my once-rote reply. That gives you an idea how much dust we’re talking about.
I told him as much. And added in peripheral excuses: “Y’know, work’s taking a lot of time, and I’ve been occupied with our recent move and what-not…”
He knows I’m a writer, but I’d forgotten that I’d told him about my book. And his asking kinda took me by surprise.
Foot perched in the wheel well of the UHaul trailer, another friend of mine, who’s more like an uncle than anything, shared that what works for him is just barreling through that first pass.
And he’s right, though bless his heart, George’s likeness doesn’t come to mind when I hear “barreling through,” as methodical and glacial as he is. One thing’s certain: the world’d be better for more of George’s writing.
The Virginian is a craftsman by trade, so the conversation turned up the analogy of roughing in a structure — slapping together a few 2x4s with 16-penny nails and calling it a shed and a day. The first draft … in 3D … real, there, existent.
Steven King even campaigns for powering through that first draft without self-editing. It’s true; he’s tried it; and it works. After that, you then open your office door to the world of opinion — yours and others’.
I don’t have mine at that point yet. It’s kinda like my own albatross; instead of hanging around my neck, it’s sitting on my desktop, ancient like a mariner. It’s tough to put this truth out there without having put the book out there.