This past weekend I finally got back in the saddle and began writing the first draft of my new novel.
I'd be lying if I didn't say it wasn't intimidating/frustrating/terrifying/euphoric and strangely familiar. This will be the fifth time I've written a novel. The first, written right out of undergrad, was more of a training ground than anything and will never see the light of day. The second was my (no longer in print) self-published novel and the third, of course, was A Tree Born Crooked. At this point last year I was deep in the trenches with my fourth novel and now here we go again.
I always find it strange to begin writing again. While I've spent the last four months researching, I haven't actually written too much. A few short stories over the summer and some personal essays, many book reviews and author interviews and promotional work for A Tree Born Crooked. But I've been off the steady writing track since May and it's been a year since I was recklessly plowing through a first draft.
And being reckless is necessary. Everyone has a different writing process, and mine changes subtly with each new work, but when I'm writing a first draft all fear has to be thrown aside and all caution trampled underfoot. I can't think about the final product. I can't worry about the language, or about the reader (too much anyway)- I have to write selfishly and with abandon. I have to only let myself think about the characters and the story. All of the craft elements will come later. The first draft is all about getting it down, maybe not fast, but definitely dirty.
And getting myself back into this mindset is not easy. Especially with everything else writing related (editing, teaching, promoting, etc.) happening all at the same time. Is this stressful? Absolutely. Is it daunting? Possibly. Will it hold me back in the slightest? Hell no.
Here we go again. See you on the flipside.