How's It Going?: First Drafts Edition

Illustration for article titled Hows It Going?: First Drafts Edition
Screenshot: The Simpsons/Disney Plus

It’s Monday. Welcome back to another week of living in this particular version of the world, and also welcome back to our daily open thread.


I had a pretty good weekend, all things considered. I spent most of Sunday working on a novel I’ve been kicking around. After spending my working hours in non-fiction, it’s been nice to get back to my fiction roots and have fun with language and ideas in a way I’ve been missing. When I edit or teach writing, I always remind people that first drafts can be as shitty as they have to be—you can’t fix something that doesn’t exist, I am fond of spouting obnoxiously—but when I’m writing, it’s hard not to think “Wow, this is crap” and lose heart halfway through a scene that isn’t going anywhere. I need to make a better outline, but outlining isn’t as fun as researching or just thinking up a scene and seeing where it goes, even if it will save me time and make for a stronger draft in the long run.

Even when first drafts suck, they have a lot of the most fun parts of writing: the experimenting and anticipation, the joy of having a character show me something about themselves I hadn’t thought of or a scene going in a cool new way. It’s always good for me to remember that I don’t have to do everything perfectly, that some brilliant completed novel doesn’t have to appear fully-formed in my notebook on the first go. It’s a lesson I could stand to take with me into other parts of my life, annoyingly.


How was your weekend? What new things are you trying or letting just be what they are? How’s it going?

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I love to write but I learned a few years ago that long form writing was just not gonna happen for me. I want to but I don’t have the discipline or commitment. I’d write a darft or part of a draft for a short story, maybe revisit it once, and that was it. Now I write in my journal or short articles or mini stories and it fits for me much better. Writing is...........incredibly hard. I do not know how people write an entire book.

I’ve been cycling back and forth between the hardest games and the most casual games and its been really fun. I’m playing Sekiro and One Step From Eden, which are probably the two hardest games I’ve ever played in my life, and playing Animal Crossing and Picross which are both incredibly relaxing and straight forward. They work in combination surprisingly well. I’m also working 6 days a week to cover extra days at my job cuz I’m an essential employee and we have to provide health and social services during the day so I’m actually....somewhat busy. Which has kinda been helping me pass the time and stay focused instead of dwelling too much on the stress of everything.

I also completely flipped when it was announced over the weekend that Streets of Rage 4 is coming out on 4/30.........i’m VERY excited.