Write (Now) Newsletter – January 2006

by | Jan 3, 2006 | Write Now Columbus Essay Archives

Write (Now) Newsletter – January 2006

“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

Dear Writers:

It started with nanowrimo 2004. I bent the rules and wrote 50,000 words of memoir during national novel writing month. (See http://www.nanowrimo.org). Everyone else was writing fiction. In August of this year, I took it out again and began to add, organize, and edit. And last week, thirteen months later, I pulled together what I fondly refer to (ala Annie LaMott) as a shitty first draft. Seventy thousand words. Two hundred and six double spaced pages. The binder weighs nearly six pounds and bears the title, Memorial: Our Last Year on the Links. I like to say the title out loud.

After I printed it out, I put the manuscript on Ed’s desk wrapped both length and width wise with large rubber bands. I placed a pink heart stick-um on it and wrote, “DO NOT READ. Merely admire the sheer volume.” He returned it unopened to my desk with a Harry Potter sticker and a post-it that read, “Awesome!”

Now it rides around in my car. I carry it into Panera and order soup, salad and an apple. I open the notebook as if it were a novel I’d just checked out of the library and I read. Most of the original 50,000 words had to go. They were merely a sketch, a dream I needed to flesh out. I tried to create scenes and tried not to be scared the whole time. And what I have now is still not a book. There are large holes and things are in the wrong order and I need to do research. Who can remember what player appeared on the cover of Golf Digest magazine the Fall of 1995?

I can only stand to work on it for about two hours at a time – approximately fifteen pages. I have time to work on it two days a week at most. At this rate, it will take me nearly two months to just reread the first draft. I am trusting that it will get easier as it goes along.

I have no lesson to offer you this month, but that’s not true. The only thing I can think to say is that I am very proud of myself. I did not give up, will not give up. And I think that is the answer.

Nita(what’s that smell?)Sweeney
(c)2006 by Nita Sweeney

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