Where We’re Heading


It’s true, both in life and in writing — we so often don’t know where we’re going until we get there. It’s something to keep in mind when opening a fresh notebook or a blank document and chasing down a brand-new idea. Henry James called novels loose, baggy monsters, and your first drafts should be significantly looser, baggier, and more monstrous than any final, polished piece. The writing of a first draft should be a fast and wild trip down a hillside with your imaginary friends (some call them “characters”) all seated right beside you. Have fun. Later on you can go back and clean things up.

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