Danny and Draft #1

If you’d asked earlier this week, I’d have told you it wasn’t going to happen. I was resigned to it. I figured I’d finish when I finished, and everyone would just have to be patient. In fact, I was ready to write a blog post about how it feels when you set a goal and you just don’t reach it.

Then came Saturday.

Mind you, I had plans. My house desperately needs to be vacuumed and dusted. I have stacks of papers, magazines, and documents on practically every flat surface. The clutter is embarrassing. The dust is probably unhealthy (especially for someone with asthma). So my plan for today was to vacuum, dust, and put things away. A noble plan, to be sure.

But when I made my list, the first entry was “write.” Because two months ago, I set a deadline for finishing my first draft, and that deadline was Sunday, October 16, 2022. So even though rational people might have said I should spend the day vacuuming and dusting and putting the house in order, I thought, “I have some time to write.” A whole afternoon, at least in theory. So I decided I’d spend three hours writing. From there, it would go as it went, with laundry and housework and whatever else I felt like doing.

I can’t say why this approach worked. Maybe it was the deadline and the prospect of telling everybody I hadn’t made it. Maybe it was the gloriously open time on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe I was just closer to finishing than I realized. Whatever the reason, I settled in and wrote—and a few hours later, I finished my first draft.

Don’t get me wrong—Draft #1 is far from perfect. There’s a ton of revising and rewriting to do. I mean, a ton. But it exists, and that’s huge. Because as every writer knows, you can’t revise a blank page. You have to write it before you can revise it.

Two months ago, I said I’d finish the first draft by now. Would I have done it if I hadn’t made that commitment to myself and to you? Or would I have decided this morning that it was more important to clean the bedroom and do the laundry? My guess is that without this commitment, I would indeed have opted for housework today. For one thing, cleaning the house is a thousand times easier than writing. Plus, not doing the housework on Saturday meant it still has to be done on Sunday. On the other hand, if I hadn’t written on Saturday, would I have written on Sunday? Or would I have decided to spend this glorious fall day running errands and cutting back dead hostas? Would I have gone off to the Apple Harvest Festival? Would I have decided I could write whenever it was convenient—which, let’s face it, would likely mean “who the hell knows when”?

The bottom line is this: setting the deadline made all the difference for me. Without it, I wouldn’t have pushed myself today. Which means I wouldn’t be sitting here with a completed first draft.

So to recap what I said two months ago: consider setting deadlines for yourself. Because they really can make the difference.

Next up: Draft #2. Date: TBD.

Celebration dinner: shrimp scampi and champagne

6 thoughts on “Ta-Da!

  1. Girrrrl, you are good! I’m amazed that such a thing can be done! That a mere mortal can come up with an idea for a novel, learn how to write a novel, and the… actually write it and finish it and have it. Astonishing! Your accomplishment is so inspiring. Congratulations! Scampi and champagne are the perfect denouement to such a day. Congratulations, again!. Love, Kay


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s