Sheesh. I’ve been terrible about updating. I’ve been working on finishing a first draft for the sequel to The Ghost and the Goth, tentatively titled Princess Poltergeist.

I follow Anne Lamott’s school of thought on this and write “sh*tty first drafts.” (BTW, If you haven’t read Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird, go out and buy it or check it out from the library now. Seriously. I’ll wait. This book, a gift from a talented writer friend, Karen, has gotten me through some rough writing moments. I refer to it often. :))

I love that this theory gives me the freedom to play around with ideas and to not be sure. The hardest thing for me in a first draft is to be sure of anything. Of course, the down side is once you get to the end, you have to go back and start sorting it out. But there’s pleasure in that, too, seeing all the pieces come together…usually after days, if not weeks, of banging your head against the wall and feeling convinced that you’ve written yourself a big pile of poo that cannot be salvaged in any way and you might as well give up and become…well, whatever job it is you’ve been avoiding on the premise that you might be able to write, which, clearly, now you can’t. And so on and so forth.

And no matter how many times you go through this process, you ALWAYS feel the same way. This is my sixth book. One drawer manuscript (or trunk novel, as some call it), three adult novels, and one YA (so far). I keep thinking it will get easier. In some ways it does, and in others…nope.

So that’s where I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I love it…even as it feels like it’s killing me. 🙂 But obsessing, freaking out, and worrying over a sh*tty first draft is an all-consuming process for me. Hence my absence and probably continued absence for a bit.

But I wanted to at least share what was going on because, if you’re anything like me, you’re convinced that everyone else writes a perfect draft the first time around…or at least one that can be turned into something good with just a few minor tweaks here and there. But nope. (And if I’m wrong about this and the rest of you are out there cranking out perfect first drafts without breaking a sweat, please for the love of God, don’t tell me! 🙂 Unless you’re going to teach me how you do it…)

3 comments to “What happened to November?”

  1. Denise A. Agnew
    · November 30th, 2009 at 12:00 pm · Link

    Love your post and love BIRD BY BIRD. It’s an awesome book and I need to be reminded what it says quite frequently. LOL.

  2. Shannon Delany
    · November 30th, 2009 at 3:50 pm · Link


    I’ve found myself telling lots of people recently there’s a reason it’s called a “rough” draft.

    I love the fact we all still go through this stuff, regardless of how accomplished or new we are to writing. Bird by Bird is tremendous!

    Great thoughts!

  3. Stacey Kade
    · November 30th, 2009 at 6:01 pm · Link

    My favorite bits of wisdom from that book are sh*tty first drafts, the one-inch picture frame, and the exercise with the mice in the jar. LOVE that last one. It has saved me more times than I can count! 🙂

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