Monday, October 26, 2009

Perhaps It's Just A Matter Of Finding The Right Terminology

I haven't had good luck over the years with writing in a journal regularly. I have dozens of them and have used them successfully in fits and spurts, but nothing that truly satisfied me.

I've tried meditation in the past, hoping it would help my concentration. You know--staying on task and all that? I think that if you have to concentrate on meditating you might be missing the point. Or if you're trying to use meditation you may be lost before you start. At any rate, it didn't work.

Earlier this year, though, I combined the two and started calling my journal work writing meditation. That I'm able to do several times a week. Of course, this is Gail we're talking about, so writing meditation for me is probably not what anyone who actually knows anything about the subject would call writing meditation. But I like the words "writing meditation." And so I use the journal more. (Perhaps if I used it less, I'd write more offical saleable stuff. Perhaps writing mediation is not a good thing. One morning I will meditate on that in my journal.)

I've had a similar experience recently regarding first drafts. I've written here frequently about my difficulty getting through a first draft. I love the advice so many writers give about just get through it and revise later. I can never do that, though, because by the time I get to Point G I've decided I want something to happen at Point M that can only happen if something different happens at Point C. So I have to go back and make changes. Many of these changes are good. They make it possible for me to proceed for a while. Until I have to do another do over somewhere along the line.

Well, last week I discovered the term "discovery draft." My moments of on-line research lead me to suspect that many people who use that term simply mean "first draft." It may just be a pretentious way of saying first draft.

However, the idea of a discovery draft makes me feel so much better about not being able to get through a first draft without starting over...and over...and over. Because what I'm doing with that discovery draft is discovering material and if it's just about discovery, then it's okay--in my mind, at least--to do things with those discoveries.

So what I'm thinking right now is you just have to find terminology that makes what you do make sense to you.

We'll see how long that works for me.

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