First Drafts: Write or Flight?

Am I alone in this? Every time I begin the first draft of a novel, two conflicting realities converge.

The need to write, and the need to run away.

I have taken to calling this the Write or Flight phenomenon…the thing that makes me get up from my computer five times on the same page, that makes me seek out yet one more coke or draws me to the internet for ‘research” that then takes me away from the book for the rest of the day.

No doubt, when I do this, it is a lack of discipline. But this phenomenon is more than that. It is a real and urgent need to run from the thing I am creating.

Of course, I always conquer the need to run. We all do. In the end, the book is the boss, and the book has to get written. And the only way for that to happen is to stay in the chair long enough for my characters and I to write the book, or at least today’s chapter. But it can be a fight, some days more than others.

Do you have this Write or Flight experience? If you do, please share in the comments section. I’d love to hear your take.

10 Responses to “First Drafts: Write or Flight?

  • This is so true- I run when I feel I am throwing too much emotion on the page and need to take a step back to get perspective.
    Wonderful post as usual Christy! I tweeted

    • Christy
      7 years ago

      I tell you Nancy, I run no matter what. But I always come back 🙂

  • RachelB.
    7 years ago

    I also experienced the “write or flight” syndrome until I came to the amazing conclusion that every time I sat down and wrote, good things resulted. I was always pleased. When I finally concluded that I had NOTHING to lose by writing and EVERYTHING to gain, I was able to conquer my fear and make progress.

    But you seem to have figured that out all on your own, too!

  • I’ve only written blog posts these last four years but I’m trying to write a novel. But I can’t think of a story! Or I have pieces. I need to plan it out because just writing is just giving me garbage. And, yes, I get frustrated and want to stop, and go read others’ wonderful historical romance novels instead!

    • Christy
      7 years ago

      Maria, I feel your pain! I am definitely of the school of writers who outline before they begin. Writing the outline is torture of a different kind, but then I feel like I have a map. Even if I end up going in a different direction once I’m into the book, at least I know where to begin. Keep at it. No one can tell your story but you.

  • You nailed it Christy! I experience this with the start of almost every book also! The first page is the killer for me. Hell, the first sentence is torture! It can take me days! And it’s terrifying.

    • Christy
      7 years ago

      The whole book is a sort of exquisite torture for me…but I am addicted. I am a writer and that isn’t going to change, no matter how hard it gets…

  • I’m going through the exact same thing with my rough draft right now! I’ll wake up in the morning so excited to write a particular scene, and then when I get to the computer it’s like I get stage fright and I can’t remember a single thing I had wanted to say.

    • Christy
      7 years ago

      I wonder if you kept a notebook to jot down the exciting things as they come to you, then you’ll have something to fall back on when you go to the computer…I do that. I have a different notebook for each novel. Just a thought…

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