“Make writing your practice. If you commit to it, writing
will take you as deep as Zen.”
It’s been a very long while – several months- since my last blog post. Although I had not blogged, I had been actively creating word art and exploring the many writing avenues that I had not ventured into.
Writing the first draft of my memoir was a very therapeutic and eye-opening experience. As I mentioned in a previous post, memoir writing was like an exercise in connecting the dots that were my life experiences. It was at the same time therapeutic and draining, because the energy that came along with the memories demanded to be written, no matter if the body was tired from the day’s work.
Connecting the dots of my life also showed me that there were a few missing dots-those pursuits and interests that I had put aside to give way to a life dedicated to helping others heal themselves. So after the first draft was written, I felt it was time to give the memoir a vacation and focus on spending time creating those missing dots which meant indulging in activities and hobbies that I had loved and discarded.
I had a blast! It felt like falling in love with life all over again when I picked up old tools and worked with them to create something new. It was fun, inspiring and pure play! Blogging had to take a backseat as well – although if there were more hours in a day I would have continued posting here. I was thirsty though, starved as well, in those areas of my life so I decided to dedicate a few months in satisfying the starved creative in me.
Now the challenge is to strike a balance in my life and incorporate these no-longer missing dots into my life.
The First Draft
As for the memoir, well, the first draft is finished. It’s only when you finish writing your first draft that you realize that what other authors say about first drafts are true:
- “It is the beginning of a work that the writer throws away.” -Annie Dillard
- “The first draft is going to suck. But there will be inspiration, there will be ideas, and there will be a framework upon which you can further refine those ideas — and that framework is the writer’s playground.” – Jon Gingerich
- “All first drafts are shit.” –Ernest Hemingway
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ― Terry Pratchett
- “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts… The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, “Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?,” you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him.” -Anne Lamott
- “We have to allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes, including cultural mistakes, in our first drafts. I believe it’s okay to get cultural details wrong in your first draft. It’s okay if stereotypes emerge. It just means that your experience is limited, that you’re human.” – Gene Luen Yang
The task at hand is now to revisit the first draft, refine, reduce…but for the most part I think this part of the writing process will be like writing a different memoir altogether.
Wish me luck!