"The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour of and let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that 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. Poppy Pants?" you let her....If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those crazy six pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you are supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go. But there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages."
I'm reading an engaging book called Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim, and I come across this passage Slim cites and I'm forced to pause. Read it again.
Slim references a book by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, first published in 1995. I've never read it, but after relating so strongly to what Lamott writes about just fuckin doing it...I just ordered Bird by Bird off Amazon, true story.
I have issues with forcing myself to write poetry if the inspiration is coursing in my veins. I didn't used to, in fact, but once I focused so intently on making writing my profession, the creative discipline buckled. And my output slowed.
But that has to change, thanks to two major poetry projects I have ahead in 2017 (more on that in another post). And I'm going to be mantra'ing Lamott's passage for several weeks in order to get my tuchus on that seat and my fingers dancing on that keyboard.
About David's Blog
I write about journalism, freelancing, the arts, Toronto, technology, sports and why egg nog is under-rated.