I’m writing this letter to you because you can’t seem to listen to me when I talk ab—see, you’re doing it again. I have something to say and you start hitting the backspace key. I know you want to be involved in this writing gig and you will be. But not like this. Not now.
You’ve got to get it through your thick head that you’re part of the writing process doesn’t come into play right now. You have to sit back and let other people do their thing. How will you have anything to write –edit, if you keep hitting the backspace key?
It doesn’t make sense, does it? Because the more you hit that key, the more you’re going to be staring a –at a shiny white page with nothing on it for you to mark up in my blood. That’s right. I said it. My blood. My blood.
Don’t you realize that when you –every time you go through my work and start spitting out your opinion that you’re doing with –it with my blood? Every time. Every time. It’s like you use your pointy swo—that’s right, pointy sword to dig itno –into my side and then when you pull it out, covered in my blood, you use it as the ink to your pen that marke—marks up my work. It hurts, ya know?
I don’t care if my words aren’t spelled right rightnow. I don’t care if I miss a space here or there. Tha’ts what a first draft is all about. It’s so—supposed to be written poorly. It’s su—just supposed to be written. You can have it later. I swera that you can. (swae-swear). Right now, I need this. I need to be able to scribble all over the blank page and get something done.
Do you realize NaNo starts next month? Do you? Were you not there this week when you leraned –learned I landed a part in a play? A play where I have to speak? Which means I have to learn lines? Add that to the NaNo deal and I have to be able to write something. This is non-negotial-negotia-negotiable. If I don’t get the words written, we won’t have anything to argue about later. You won’t have anything to marke-mark up later. You won’t have anything to do.
And if that’s not enough, you’re just not welcome here right now. That’s wri=-wir-right. You heard me. You’re not welcome here. Why do you think there are alw-all these red lines in this piece--? It’s because I’m forcing myself to ignore you every time you want to hig –hit the backspace key. Sure. You can blame me for having a *&*&^&^% -lousy piece of writing, but I don’t care. I know you’re the one that’s wrong about that.
Everyone is supposed to have a lousy first draft. That’s why they call it a first drea=-f-draft. It’s a draft. It’s there for revision. It’s there for thinking over later. It’s there to learn the craft and in time to get better at it. It’s not about perfection.
It’s never about perfection! It’s about getting my thoughts out. It’s about ke-learning the characters. It’s about finding the voice of the story. It’s about giving you something to do-later. Much, much later. Fiv-fiv-fifty though-thoug-thousand words doesn’t write itself. I’m sure you think it does, but you’re an idiot if I ever knew one if that is what you think.
Because that’s now t—not how it works. It’s about time. Time invi-invested. It’s about bleeding out your sould a=--soule—soul and then when the pain and the guts of it all are out there, it’s about sharing it with others. All for the purpose of getting the story told. And the story has to be told. You know that. I know that. The world needs this novel. Or the self-help book or the comedy play or the comic book or the whatever someone wants to write; the world needs it.
So, I’m not going to ask you nicely na-anymore. I’m going to tell you that it’s time to go. I’m going to sit you in that chair in the corner and duct tape your moth-mouth shut. I will tie you there and not let you out.
Don’t threaten me –I don’t want to hear it. I kow that –I know that no on e—one will read what I’m writing. It’s a first draft. What kind of writer lets someone read their first draft unless they are borrowing someone else’s intn—inner editor to get feedback because they’ve tied up their own inner editor like I’m doing right now?
Can’t you just sit there in that chair quietly ? that’s all I’m asking. You know it will work if you just do that. Remember, the Caged Bird? That’s been one of our finest pieces yet. And there’s still work to be done on it. I’ll let you kh-help with that. You know you’re the one I go to for things like revisions and edits. Obviously, you’r ethe inn—you’re the inner editor. But I can’t use your help for writing.
Whose hw-help am I going to use? The muse. Duh. Everyone knows he’s the guy I go to for things like this. Yes, he abandoned me that tda—day on the ship. Believe me, I haven’t forgotten. But I’ve forgiven him. He nd-needed a day off. You get days off. Yes you do, if you’d just take them.
Fine. I’ll negi-neo-negotiate. We will figure out a plan for when we get the beta responses back for TCB. We will. I swear. But I need you to shut up for a while. SOS has to be written. And then there’s that other creative activity I’ve gotten myself involved in. yes, I know you’re supe re-super exit-excited about that activity because you are the invisible star of that play –the guy who wouldn’t let the author write his sotry –story only to have the character s=-characters come to life in an attempt to kill him off.
I get it. You’re amazing . if it wasn’t for you that play never would have been written. Fine. D-kudos. Appal-applause. Fanfare. You’ve got it. Okay. Really. Can we let it go kn-now?
I’m going to keep writing. I’m going to ignore you. I’m going to leave you in this chair and make you sit there wtiho-y-with your motu-mouth shut. Yes. I am. You can’t stop me. Have you stp-stopped me so far? Look at all the mistakes I’ve made in this letter. All of them. aren’t they beautiful? Does-doez-dozens of w-red lines and green lines indicating all the mistakes I’ve made in this “first draft” of a-my lat-letter to you.
I t-love it. It’s like Christmas colors. They’re going to stay there too. In fact, I may go one step further and take the backspace button off the keyboard until this draft is comeple—complete. Tha’ts –that’s right. Complete. From “Once upon a time” to “the ed-end.”
The hell you say! I can start my book that way if I want to! And if I end iw-it with “the ed-end” who cares? Because at least that way, the book will be complete. Sure it may need some work. Maybe even a lot of work. But at least it’ll be done.
Because with you here, I’m getting NOTHING DONE. NOTHING. Do you hear me? I wrote a parta-paragraph and a half on it today. That’s it. And even that, I struggled with because of this stupid p-backspace key and the sound of your ovice in-voice in my head. “s-should it be past tense or present tence?” “Should he smell the sugary scent of doub-dough” or not? Just leave me alone!--
Just leave me alone! The point is that Jack has to run out after his son. He’s distraught. The man has to see if his son is okay. Never mind the fact that the boy can’t see his dead father. No. he’s not going to see his dead father. That’s the way the story goes. The characters say that’s how it goes. The muse says that’s how it goes. I say that’s how it goes.
You don’t get a say in this. You get to shut the f up and leave me alone. I will not backspace that f out of there. I don’t care what other people think about me putting the f in there. I’ll do it a thousand times more if ai –I want. F, f, f, ff, f, f,f f, f,f f,f,f f,f,f,ff, . there. Take that. How does that feel? F,f,f,f,f,f,f,f,f,f,f,f,f. and no spaces in between them either.
Tha’ts how annoyed I am with you. I’m tired of you walstzing in here like some king who thinks he can rule the writing world and thus mess with my world. Because you can’t. you can’t. you don’t have that right. I don’t care if there aren’t capti-capital letters in those sentences. I just don’t care.
Don’t you realize how tiring it is already to get up as early as I do to wirte? Write? I mean, serioiusly. Four thirty in themorning. Four theirty. Thirty. Tha’ts how I-tired I am. And then I have to go to work. And when you’re in me my head all morning, I end up at work in a really bad mood. An f’ing bad ma-mood.
Just stop it. Stop it won-once and for all. I need you to sid-sit down and shut up and leave me alone for a while. I am not going to tell you for how long, you’ll just have to trust me that I need you to be quit-quiet and do what I say.
Quit? You think you’re going to win this argument by threatening to quit and never come back? Please. Is that a promise? I can use someone e’==-else’s inner ec-editor. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to come overe here and clean up the mess that I’ve got all over the desktiop-desktop. You can w-quit I f0-if you want, but you won’t get any credit for your work.
Oh, you think your’e so amazing because you got me to hit the backap-back-backspace up there. Big deal. One time. Iv’e I’ve avoided hitting it a h-thouseand times in this letter this morning. It’s over. I’m done. I’m not going to keep talking about it.
I have things to write. I’m going to get back into Jack’s head and he’s going to for-frolick over to his kid if he wants to and he’s going to get his point across to that boy. Maybe not in one sitting, maybe not until the almost end of the book, but I’tll it’ll happen. Without you ro –or with you. I don’t care wi-which.
And in the mean time, this backspace key is going to go. I dno’t n-don’t need it here. =I’ll put it back if and when you can behave.
Me. The writer. And the muse. He’s here too.