Today I begin the fourth draft of my book. It’s also the final draft, because I am making a commitment as I write these words that I will not rewrite the story again, that I will not allow myself to be sloppy and plan to patch the holes later, that I will not commit to a process that may never end.
I am writing into the dark.
I read Dean Wesley Smith’s book of the same name in a few hours. It’s a short read. I am always grateful to authors who cut out all the fluff and give the reader just what he or she is looking for.
I think Writing into the Dark is just what I have been looking for. I have been writing and rewriting stories for the past year. What do I have to show for it? Drafts. It was practice. But now I want a finished product, something I won’t have to apologize for, something I can proudly share with others as a first step into the career I long to create.
But this approach is not without its risks. If I wish to follow in Smith’s footsteps, I must acknowledge that my book will never be perfect. I must trust the process of writing and put in the work early, rather than telling myself I will get to it in some future draft. And most difficult of all…I must believe I have something worth sharing.
The uncertainty is very real, but as Smith says, it’s not something to be feared. Uncertainty is exciting. Uncertainty is adventure. Uncertainty is possibility.
This is my first step toward writing into the dark–without outline, without commitment except to trust the process and get the draft right the first time. That is all. I have never done this before–not deliberately, not welcoming the uncertainty.
In the words of Stephen King, “There are other worlds than these.” I am ready to start exploring.