Hello again! We're slowly but surely creeping toward Halloween...what are you scared of?
Nine times out of ten, when I ask new clients what emotional and/or creative setbacks they anticipate as we work through their project, I hear some variation of: "I'm afraid my first draft won't be good enough. I want to get it right the first time." I like to call this attitude Generalized First Draft Anxiety (GFDA, for short), and can say with confidence that it's a very common, completely ridiculous fear to have.
Here's why: first drafts are always, without exception, imperfect. There is no such thing as getting it right when the only real goal at that point in the process is getting it out of your head and onto the page. Perfection comes later (in most cases, way later), and worrying too much about perfection too soon sucks the life and love out of the experience of writing faster than you realize. By expecting to nail it on the first go-around, you're putting an insane amount of pressure on yourself to do something that just isn't going to happen. It's senseless.
For all the writers of the world that suffer from GFDA, I'm here to say that you canafford to ease up a little; while it's absolutely natural to be anxious about your project, you don't have to let that anxiety drive you and poison your creative process. If you're having trouble taking that step back, I recommend adopting this mantra:
"By definition, a first draft cannot be a failure. This is my secret project, and no one needs to see it until I feel it's ready to be seen."
Print it out, write it down, paste it somewhere you'll see it all the time. Know that a first draft isn't for anyone other than the people you actively want to share it with, and you've got no obligations at this point other than to commit your story to the page. It's not so scary when you think of it like that, is it?
Hello! I've just made it back to the city after a brief but much needed visit home in North Carolina. It turned out that space was what I needed most...
As you might know, I've been in a weird headspace about reading lately. It's been really challenging for me to appreciate stories, even though doing just that is the bedrock of my whole life. I mean, this is what I do, this is what I'm here for, and yet picking up a new book has been borderline impossible the past few months.
I've had my suspicions about where this "reader's block" is coming from for quite a while, but I came across a Facebook post recently that solidified my hunch: at the present moment, the political climate of this country is, frankly, insane and exhausting, and being party to the madness is taking a toll on my ability to invest myself in meaningful work. Hearing about all the ways in which things are falling apart has been so mentally taxing, I feel like I've maxed out my emotional credit card for the foreseeable future. It's all taking a toll on my passion for books.
However, seeing that Facebook post and the number of people who felt the same was so validating; I was getting to a point where I felt bad -- guilty, even -- about my disengagement from the literary world, but knowing that others are experiencing the same thing has been comforting and has motivated me to confront the issue a bit more directly than I have been. If you're feeling this way as well, here are some potential ways to bust out of the slump we're in together: