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Writing Wednesdays: My First Draft Symptoms

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?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Damyanti says:

    Kim, like I said, I'm happy to be part of a club 🙂

    Donna, hope you get those stories ready for us to read soon 😉

  • Donna Hole says:

    Lately I have lots of shiny new ideas that I've managed to start on paper (wordd doc), but they are nowhere near a draft. That would mean I've written completely through the initial idea and know where it needs editing. *sad sigh*

    I need a time turner so I can get to that phase 🙂


  • Kim says:

    I can relate to the "head in the clouds" syndrome – I get called out when my kids are talking to me and I am somewhere else entirely. Good luck with drafting your story!

  • Damyanti says:

    Madeline, glad to know I'm not alone 🙂

  • My symptoms are very similar to yours. A lot of the times I'll get buried deep into my MC's head.

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