How to rekindle the spark with a disastrous first draft

Take it out to dinner? See a writer’s biopic movie with it? Buy it surprise airline tickets for a tropical holiday? Turn up at its office unexpectedly; say you thought you’d buy it a drink? Over daytime wine, in a crowded café, read it a poem written by someone else? Arrange a near death experience — stand in the road and give the fingers to a scaffolding truck — then return to the manuscript, shaky with gratitude that you are still alive, delirious over how screeny its screens are, how inky its ink is, how pagey its pages? Watch it at a distance while it leans its head in close enough to feel the warm touch of a rival’s breath at a party? Stage a flash mob of one at a spot you know it’s going to turn up (e.g. your desk)? Hire a mariachi band to come to its door? Tell it you think you’re pregnant — or that you think you got someone else pregnant? Buy it irises from a street vendor; present them to it even though it’s in a meeting with someone else far smarter, and clearly more charismatic than you? Wait at home looking after the children, grinding through the homework and the toileting accidents, cooking it a good healthy meal, having the laundry done and the table set in plenty of time? And when it walks in late (don’t mention the late) looking haggard and strained, be ready with a cheerful, “Hi, First Draft, how was the back-burner?” Ask the same thing, but recently moisturized (maybe even lipsticked and perfumed, if that’s your kind of thing), in a fresh outfit, when it walks in late with beer on its breath and a sly, wild animation in its eye, its eye that just — can’t — quite — meet yours? Announce you’ve had a promotion, a demotion, you’re up for relocation? Start seeing another project behind its back, then feel the searing shame and regret that make you reform and ask its forgiveness? Go on a diet, give up alcohol, start a night class in something entirely unlikely then present it with the New You? Take a break? Oh, you have. Take a longer break? Look it straight on and ask it what it’s really feeling, and is there something it has to tell you? Take it into the bush with only a pen knife, a pen light, and a water bottle; tell it to shred itself into crumbs and follow itself out? Discover someone else is writing exactly the same book, but they’ve only just started, so you might get there first if you would just snap out of this accidie, anomie, this very non X-factor je ne sais quoi? Let the self-loathing build up to the point where anything, anything would feel better than this, even getting back together with the disastrous first draft?

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2 Responses to How to rekindle the spark with a disastrous first draft

  1. cleverbear says:

    Lull first draft into false sense of security then attack it during a coffee fueled five am fit of enthusiasm.

    • ejneale says:

      Five a.m., Cleverbear?! You got all the good genes. If I’m awake at five a.m. it is because someone else in the house has had nightmares… i.e. it’s someone else’s vivid imagination at work, not my own…Even the idea of setting my alarm that early makes me feel sick. May the first draft obey you!!

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