Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Little Closer

I was many hundreds of miles away during the memorial for Chris on Saturday. Thanks to the magic of modern technology, though, I had a decent grasp of how things were going. The great thing about that was that I didn't feel like I missed out entirely. The not so great thing was that I didn't feel as though I was doing enough. Thankfully I recognized that sort of feeling as something Chris would think was silly.

I took myself in hand and decided to do something to honor him on my own while so many others were gathering so far away. On the sidebar of his blog Chris has a word count titled, "The Shitty First Draft." The premise there is that the most important part is writing the story down. You can't get to a gorgeous finished product if you don't write anything down. You have to make peace with the first draft not being perfect, maybe even being shitty, so you get the words on the page.

A  few weeks ago I had this insanely perfect idea for a children's book. In a wildly uncharacteristic move I started to write it down the same day. I got a page or two in and folded. It was awful. I was just not getting to the great parts I'd "written" in my head. A few days later I tried again. It was better but it didn't feel very good and at the first hitch in its giddyup I let myself stop. I've written on other things since.

So on Saturday I told myself that I'd spend time during Chris's memorial adding words to my shitty first draft, making peace with the fact that it might be shitty while being grateful that it was making it to the page. And you know what? I finished it!

Thanks to Chris, thanks to everyone who knew him, thanks to his putting himself out there on the internet I have a shitty first draft of a project, the first shitty first draft of something really big that I've had in a long time.

I wish he'd told me what I should call the second draft.


  1. Suzanne J-W10:23 PM

    My kids 3rd grade teacher calls the second draft a "sloppy copy". Keep writing!

  2. How about a "respectable" second draft?

  3. And I just started this day with tears. Please send this book to a publisher. Thank you.

  4. Cindy, I'm going to do my best. I have an illustrator in mind. I want to get a second or third draft done before I ask her if she's interested. Then publishing. In this case, I think the pictures are super important. I want to see it published, though, very much.

  5. Miflohny2:56 PM

    Let me know if you need test readers. I'm sure Little Seal would love it.