First draft reminder.

There are some things I should have learned by now. This isn’t my first first draft.

This morning, approaching twenty thousand words, in the zone of the scene I was rendering, doubt interrupted. Wait? Did I make her sister younger than her in the last scene? And now she’s the youngest?

Rather than doing what I knew I should, I scrolled back in the document to find the earlier scene. I knew even while I was doing this that it wasn’t a good idea. I knew that in the first draft it’s best to just keep writing, knowing that you’ll clean up the details in revision.

Now, I am writing this blog instead of finishing the scene and I’ll probably eat lunch and shampoo the carpet before I come back to it.

I recall reading a book or an article once that talked about a division of mind between the creative mind and the editor’s mind, and it seems to me now that both are fueled by curiosity, which is why it is difficult to keep them apart. The curiosity that propels the first draft is forward-moving. The curiosity that propels the editing moves back and forth through story-time. The questions, though, are the same. Does this work? Is it compelling?

First draft reminder: Keep moving forward.


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