I’m Freaking Out
That’s right, reader, I’m going crazy imagining what the half a dozen people who might have read my novel so far, are thinking about me. I mean, what sort of lunatic writes a book on a blog? And we’re not talking the finished, polished product, no, no, we’re talking the first draft, all iffy and basic.
Somebody Stop Me
Please, someone have a word with my Muse. She’s always been a tad looney, and now she’s got me doing this thing, putting myself out there for anyone, well all half a dozen of you, to shake your heads and wonder what the frag?
Your Basic Muse
Haha, no, my muse is anything but basic. In fact she’s ten times cooler than me and doesn’t put up with any of my excuses or whining. To look at, she’s somewhere between Harley Quinn and Frida Kahlo, yes I know, not what you’d expect.
Her name is Calliope, and she is generous when I sit myself in front of my writing, any writing, and commit to getting the work done. She keeps me going, encourages my ideas and makes sitting alone in a room writing words a bit less lonely.
She guards my imagination and creativity against her writing partner, my Inner Editor.
My Inner Editor
Only once the first draft is written does Calliope disappear, off to do whatever imaginary friends do when you don’t need them. Then my Inner Editor cracks his knuckles and expects free reign over my writing. He pushes me to be logical, truthful and at times brutal about my writing, deleting what is unnecessary, improving what is essential.
Before My Muse and Editor Knew Their Places
– I used to write without acknowledging the importance of separating a first draft from an edit.
– I would try to write my best work right away.
– I put terrible pressure on myself to get it right in one go, and I thought that if I was any kind of decent writer, surely that would be the way it’s done.
This doesn’t work for me, even though a lot of my first draft will end up in the finished piece in one shape or another.
Reading About Writing
I read some books about writing:
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande
Living The Writer’s Life by Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich
I learned a lot reading these books, and none of them told me I had to get the words right in the first draft. Each author had their own way of writing and a lot of it was about showing up to the work on a regular basis.
The separate tasks of a writer became clear to me:
– rewriting, a lot
This seemed logical, which I liked, but a little bit cold, and I do love words and writing, so I decided to invite a fun, cool imaginary friend to help me with the first draft writing; my Muse, Calliope, and somehow by default she brought along a kind of parental and somewhat perfectionist Inner Editor. He’s jacket and tie and all business, and when I need him that’s fantastic.
I know that millions of people write without needing imaginary friends, but this way suits me. If one of you six or so readers think of me at my desk writing, I invite you to send a smile Calliope’s way. She’s too cool to care, but deep down I know she likes the attention.