The Personality of First Drafts

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights,
but you can make the whole trip that way.

                                                 – – – E. L. Doctorow

I’ve always loved this quote.
But I’m sure it’s anathema
to John Irving who believes
if you’re making it up as you go along
you’re not a writer, just a liar.

Each first draft is different for me.
Each process unique.
What I know ahead of time varies.

Yesterday I felt a combination of
fear and exhilaration as I wrote my 1000 words.
Squinting ahead into the fog.

I haven’t written yet today.
I’m worried the story might be headed for a cliff.
But if that’s the case,
I’ll just have to grab the wheel and make a sharp turn.

And hope I don’t run over any liars 
who might be staggering around in the fog.


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