Even after embarking on my third novel, after I’ve accepted that the first draft will always be shit, after living through the mantra that writing is rewriting, I still have days when I find the process just a tad frustrating.
What’s the meaning of life? That’s always been the question, hasn’t it?
Why am I here? Why is there so much pain and suffering? What’s the point of finding a job and going through life hating everything just so you could earn a bit of cash to fund your drinking habit (totally not me by the way)?
Fortunately, many others have asked that question before you. Unfortunately, not many have come to a satisfying conclusion.
I’ve went through life just going through one goal after another. Every time I’d achieved something, I’d just relish it for minutes before moving on to the next one. It took a few tries before I realised that checking things off my bucket list wasn’t as exhilarating as I thought it would be. Then it hit me.
The goals were never the point. The process was.
After all, what good did becoming a salon supervisor do for me? Or becoming a travel writer? Earning my blue belt in jiu-jitsu? Finishing that book? Getting published?
You wake up, you check your phone. You want to know the latest stats for the article you’d posted yesterday. Two views. No likes on Facebook. One spam comment.
An e-mail comes in. It’s from that fiction competition you joined five months ago. “Thank you for your participation,” it reads. That’s always a bad sign, and a quick scroll through the rest of the message proves it.
Ah, the infamous shitty first draft. The place where hopes are simultaneously born and slaughtered. The one thing that writers fear the most.
The first draft can be anything. I can write poop all over again if I want. Poop poop poop. I can, like, use punctuation however I like—I can even make sentences no meaning at all fire escape what yes.
Perhaps I’ll rewrite that later. Perhaps not.
But that’s the point. That’s what the first draft is. The canvas where you start creating your art. You probably thought that the blank page was the canvas. Well you thought wrong.