The truth about drafts

process Sep 13, 2022

What is a draft, anyway? 

This deceptively simple question came from a fine writer I mentor, and at once I was struck by its profound implications! 

“Draft” is one of those words writers sling around, but it’s not always clear what we mean by it.

Does it mean a stream-of-consciousness jumble of words, or a neatly organized tale that's just a few turns of the screwdriver short of being publishable?

Writers confuse themselves needlessly by calling the complex, varied process of writing a book “drafting and revision,” as if it were two simple steps, like doing the cha-cha. When the real workload turns out to be so much more than that, who can they blame for “not doing it right” but themselves?

My dear storytellers, it’s not your fault! The process is mysterious because we don’t get to see other writers do it. We only see the outcome.

Today, let’s explore the idea of process. How do we pluck the impulse to write a story from our heads and actually work on it in a useful way? At what point can we call what we’re doing drafting? And what happens after we've finished that longed-for draft, anyway? That’s the topic of today's talk.

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