I’m on the literary road again, with the first chapter of the first draft of the sequel to “WitchKids” now complete. Unlike last time, though, I won’t be blogging the book chapter by chapter. eventually the first quarter of it will end online, but not until I’ve properly polished the thing up. Why? Because the first draft is going to stink. Guaranteed. Pee-yew. Even if I could avoid it being awful, I”m not going to, because that’s a part of the process.
The first draft is the discovery draft, where I stumble through the story I have outlined in my head and on sheets of paper taped to the wall, and I find all of the details and plot points that I haven’t planned for. I can’t stop to consider how to make the story better because it’s not really done yet. After the first draft, the story will exist, albeit in a sad and repugnantly awkward state, and then I can go back in with a hacksaw and a pair of pliers to bully it into some kind of readable shape.
It’s a strange position to be in, creating something that you have already labeled as crap, but I have to convince myself that finishing a chapter of crap is much, much better than finishing a chapter of nothing at all. To add to the ego cost, I’m all too aware that the work I’m doing now will bring me and the family exactly zero dollars for the forseeable future. It’s hard to proudly proclaim “guess what honey-I spent the whole day not earning money!” but I guess this is where artistic determination comes in to play. I have to strap on my blinders and barrel ahead with this, because it’s what I’m good at (the writing, not the barreling ahead with things.)
Another thing that I’ve discovered over the last week or so: it’s hard work being a beginner at anything. And, it’s overwhelmingly offensive to your self-esteem to be beginner at a bunch of things at the same time, sucking simultaneously at a variety of tasks. Between trying desperately to schedule political meetings across the greater Toronto Area with very little success, to recognizing my deficiency in writing query letters (something you need to be good at to earn money as a freelance writer), to my fledgling career as a self-publishing author, to my parenting skills being pushed past their limits by a bull-headed 3-year-old, I ran right out of believe-in-myself-juice and had to hide under some blankets for a day. Now that I want to try to achieve new and interesting things, I’m realizing the vast ocean of knowledge that I don’t have. My theory is that I just have to ignore most of my ignorance and keep at it. Eventually I’ll either pick up everything I need to know through experience, or I’ll get so good at ignoring my lack of knowledge that it won’t hinder me at all.