Tuesday, June 19, 2012

first draft summer

my newly acquired from
clothing swap, very tiny, thinking cap.

how many times in life do we begin something completely new?

maybe you move twenty times? you start only a handful of long term romantic relationships. you begin what, two dozen new jobs? over the course of a lifetime this isn't much. the biggest change - having kids - most of us only do 2.5 times. marriage? about the same. (oh my gosh, i'm kidding!)

maybe that's why change is so hard. the monumental fresh starts only come our way every so often.

if you're a writer, embarking on a new manuscript is no less epic. i will probably write around thirty books in my lifetime. still, embarking on a new one always comes as a surprise. first it's a spark of an idea, then a few words on the page. that one page quickly turns into twenty. it's around the fiftieth you know you have something. and it's right around then that you begin having commitment issues.

it's exactly like starting a new relationship. at first, it's golden. you love your new work. it can do no wrong. neither can you. imagine prairies with flowers, the two of you skipping through it. now imagine at page fifty you hear your manuscript use the bathroom for the first time.

no seriously. and i'm not talking peepee. i know you've had that moment, when you hear those noises and you think, wow. this must be serious. and suddenly you worry if you've made a good match. where this is going. if you actually want to be in this relationship (though very clearly you are).

if you're at all like me, when this happens, you call up a girlfriend and blather until you start to hear what an idiot you sound like. in my case, the girlfriend was Lauren Morrill.

Meant to Be on sale November 13!

Lauren and i met last year around this time through this very blog. and thanks to BEA, we met in person two weeks ago. lunch turned into wandering nyc, turned into coffee, turned into sitting in the park watching a hawk eat things, turned into folk singers arriving and Lauren and i fleeing. and through it all, there was constant gabbing.

somewhere in the middle of gabbing about books, writing styles, movies, boston, new york, we came up with the idea to embark on another new beginning together -- First Draft Summer.

two ladies. two ideas. two lightly begun manuscripts. one summer to finish a first draft. GO!

because here's the other thing about new beginnings. at first it's amazing, but sooner than later, you want to get it over. the: yay! we're moving to a new apartment! quickly turns into why aren't these frickin' boxes unpacked? the: omg i had a baby! turns into: why aren't you five and able to speak and do things on your own yet (or you know, so i've heard). the: i could listen to this man talk for a lifetime, turns into honey, hurry up and finish your damn story (which you've already told me...twice) and let's figure out what's for dinner.

same with a new novel. at first it's wonderful, but no sooner is it begun than you wish someone could rip it out of your head and smack it down whole on the page and let you work with the bloody mess from there. because while it can be fun tripping upon plot elements as you're walking down the street, it's less fun trying to make them happen while your brain is fuzzy from too much coffee or knowing that this is the next scene you need to write: Two Girls Talk About the Drama, but that it will take you roughly two days to get the five pages down with quality dialogue, place and physical descriptors and forward moving plot.

yup. thus was created First Draft Summer.

join us! (because aren't i making it sound like fun?) for Lauren and me it means we're emailing each other pages once or twice a week to keep up the motivation. but your First Draft Summer can look like anything.

the question is, what do you want to bring into creation?

a new recipe? a new trip to a new beach, (i wrote new not nude, but ZaZing! that could be a fun first.) either way, grab a friend and create something this summer! and then check back in and let me know how it goes.

another great friend once told me, we only get one little life.

so why not fill it with lots of fresh starts?


  1. OMG! I'm so happy for this post! I'm writing my VERY FIRST first draft this summer! Or trying to!

    Good luck to the both of you!

  2. WOW! That's a huge, huge first. Keep us posted on your progress girl! And good luck to you:)

  3. I've had too many signs pointing at me to ignore this anymore. I might regret this come August, but... I'm in.

  4. Love this post! Love this idea! I've been feeling kind of stale lately. I think I need a new creative beginning. Thanks for always being so inspirational.I can't wait to hear how this summer's venture blossoms for you.

  5. Yes, Jessica! that's terrific. Plus, just think, if you don't make it all the way through, you've still had a bunch of really productive days.

  6. Thanks, my Amy girl, and I imagine that a stale day for you is more lively and productive than most of mine:)I can't wait to see what YOU come up with.

  7. Great idea! I'm starting a new first draft this summer for the first time in forever (since I've been working on the same book for 3 years now! It's definitely time to start something new.) I don't know if I'll have a full draft by the end of the summer, but maybe by the end of the year? Either way, I'll be rooting for you! :)