One of my agent-mates, Rachel Hawkins, has talked before about an overwhelming season in her life when she first had book contracts to fulfill. Book contracts are the dream, People. We writers want an editor to buy one of our stories so badly that sometimes we wish they would just buy us and tell us what to write for goodness sake. But beware, Rachel’s story warns us. There is a downside to the contract. And it’s exactly that: The contract. Now you don’t so much get to write a book if you feel like it sometimes on Saturday afternoons when it’s raining. Now you HAVE to write a book, like now, and it has to be good and marketable and worthy. When you get done with that one you need to start on the next and pretty soon you’ll get edits on the first and have to do All The Things, and ALL of it falls under “Have To.”
The other day Rachel tweeted about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and that she still does it to remind herself what it’s like to write for fun. She said this was something aspiring writers might not think about – how rare it is to just have time to draft, which is the short word for “write that really messy, all-over-the-place, if-I-keep-going-maybe-it-will-be-a-story, first version of whatever it is that you’re writing.
I have taken her to heart. I am not actually writing a first version of anything this month. But I am thoroughly overhauling an old version and doing it without fear, because what do I have to lose? I’m in the drafting stage. This is Take One. All day. And I’m loving it.
Whatever you’re waiting on, that thing you wish had already happened, imagine it has a con or two. Then throw your arms out wide and breathe in deep the joy of not yet having-to.