I came upstairs after work this evening and sat down to write at the dining room table. I had my notebooks, a pile of drafts and notes, and that nagging anxiety of the unknown. I knew I needed to write a key patch of dialogue, a critical patch where two main characters meet for the first time. I had yet to “hear” the characters and had only a vague idea of what they might want to say. I had nothing on paper. I imagined how great it would feel to have some raw material down.
So I did what I’ve learned to do – that only thing over which I have any control – I put my butt in a chair for an hour and a half. I began by writing what I knew, and by the end I had just what I needed. I had a perfect mess – a draft covered with scribbles, two pages of fresh edits, and a pseudo-code of what each character wanted, what they might want to get across to the other. I had traversed the anxious, winding path through the forest to the next draft. This is all any of us needs, it is all we can ask – line of sight to the next draft. The process delivered again. What was my part in it? I simply showed up and brought what I can, time in the chair.