Thursday, August 02, 2007

The uncultivated field

I've written about outcome goals before, and now it's time for me to take my own advice. Because now is definitely time for output. I'm shooting for 3 pages a day between now and October 2. "Writing the marble," as Elizabeth Wrenn says. Writing "the shitty first draft," is what Anne Lamott calls it. Walter Mosley puts it this way: "It [the first draft] won't be publishable. It won't be pretty. It probably won't make logical sense. But none of that matters. What you will have in front of you is the heart of the book that you wish to write. There is no greater moment in the true writer's life.... Your first draft is like a rich uncultivated field for the farmer: it is waiting for you to bring it into full bloom." (How could The Pajama Gardener resist?)

Sorry for repeating myself, but I keep bumping up against the idea that there's no way to get to the polished manuscript without first writing the mess, writing the uncultivated field. For me, that means not worrying what my critique group is going to say when they look at it on August 22. My only goal is to get through the story all the way through by the first part of October.

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