Monday, March 25, 2013

On Writing: A Comparison to the Marathon Part 3 of 3

So, I did it.  I completed my first marathon, the Rock n' Roll USA Marathon on March 16.  It's over.  Thank god. 

I'm not particularly proud of my finishing time, or the fact that my quadriceps became iron logs at Mile 21.  But, I did it.  And that's that. 

OK, it's funny, but am I the only person who thinks sloths are really creepy?
So, now we're all set up for the comparison between finishing a marathon and writing and it goes a little somethin' like this (at least in my experience):  finishing a marathon is like finishing a first draft.  There's a flurry of emotions as you cross the finish line and as you eek out your final sentence.  There's joy that this epic journey is finally done; there's anxiety over what's next; there's disappointment that it wasn't all that you hoped for; there's hope that the next time will be better.  Who out there is absolutely in love with their first draft, whether it be an article, a short story, or a novel?  Not me!  I usually hate it and fight the urge to bury it under a rock somewhere. 

This is where I bury my first drafts: under a giant rock guarded by goats. Fierce guard goats.
But, as the saying goes, time heals all wounds (except those with Staph infections).  I give the first draft a day or more (if deadlines allow) to "steep" and then take a look at it again with fresh eyes.  And then a funny thing happens: it's not as horrible a monstrosity as I first thought.  It's ok - ok in that first-drafty kind of wonky way.  And so was my marathon.  No one's first draft is a masterpiece just as no one's first marathon is their finest physical performance.  Both feats are trials - testing the waters, so to speak.  Then you go and prove to yourself you can actually stick it out and finish and no matter how slow you run or how ugly your first draft is, you finished SOMETHING and you also now have something to fall back on - the hard part is over. 

So, I'm letting my legs rest and recover and I have a first draft tucked away on my laptop.  I'll revisit both running and writing this week as soon as I fight off those fierce guard goats. 

No comments:

Post a Comment