It is a crazy period, the one when I begin on a story.
My mind is either blank or too full, and these are the times you would find me staring off into space, or forgetting my wet laundry in the machine, keeping unusually silent, or getting excessively involved in the life of my pets, or the wonders of recipe books or gardening. To these, you can add a dozen variations, and I suffer from them all.
These symptoms indicate that I’m
a. fooling myself into sitting down and writing, (I have two sides, one that wants to write, the other which will do anything but, so a lot of trickery is involved)
b. getting so sucked in the world of my characters that I’m working as an automaton in my real life
c. procrastinating (this is a bitch, which attacks me at all stages from first draft to last)
My family usually knows when I’m neck-deep into (trying to write) a story.
Over a period of time, I have learned a little discipline and focus. I do not leave my writing chair unless I’ve done a certain number of pages, I do not visit the internet unless I’m going to do research or write blog posts. (The second one is hard, and I find myself perpetually digging myself out of the quagmire of social media). But no matter how focused I am, or perhaps because of it, I behave a (little!) differently when I’m drafting a story for the first time.
In the month of April, I was in a sort of trance throughout, because I was participating in the A-Z challenge, which has now led to my experimental e-book: A-Z Stories of Life and Death. My family was happy when April turned to May!
How about you? Do you have any first draft symptoms?