There are some first drafts which can take months, years and even decades to write. At the other end of the spectrum there are those new stories which demand to be written fast. Words gush out of you at an alarming rate and there is no time for things like sleeping, eating or even taking toilet breaks.
Whilst writing these first drafts you forget about looking after yourself and type, ‘The End,’ sleep starved, hungry, modelling a tangled hairstyle, bleary eyed and looking like a shadow of your former self.
I experienced one of these stories last year and I wasn’t a pretty sight by the end of it, readers. The speed at which this first draft burst out of me was scary. It didn’t want to mess around.
If you have never had a story demand to be written fast and are wondering how the hell you would survive something like this, here is some advice:
This situation is similar to the film, Alien. You are the host. You have a strange being buried deep inside of you and it is desperate to come out. As with the film, Alien, things are going to get messy as the eruption begins.
If this is a first draft, don’t stop to think about what is coming out of you. God kindly created the second, third and fourth draft processes for this sort of deliberation.
Forget about editing. Again this will come later. Don’t stop the flow.
Try to look after yourself during this challenging time. You don’t realise how draining the birth of a story can be until you finish it. After writing one of my first drafts in about three weeks I was tearful and exhausted for a long time afterwards. Force yourself to take lengthy breaks and get as much fresh air as you can.
Don’t get carried away by the force at which this story is coming out of you. This is not some divine intervention. I am guilty of over thinking the ‘quick story labour’, wasting valuable time wondering whether a higher spiritual being has finally answered my prayers for a best seller and is delivering it to me quickly so it can get on with changing someone else’s life. Sadly this is not the case. You are simply having a quick story birth.
Don’t question your sanity either as this will delay the flow. I also have thought about whether I am losing my mind during one of these binge writing episodes. Sometimes stories are desperate to get onto a page. Perhaps it’s been stewing for too long inside your brain and your body has decided to evict it?
Always remember this. You can’t avoid literary pain and suffering. No matter how things pan out you will experience it somewhere along the process. If you are lucky enough to get a story which wants to be written super fast – great! Your quota of literary pain and suffering will catch up with you on a later draft 😎
Enjoy the ride, writer!