Last night, I was chatting with a friend, and I informed her that I’d be sending her a short story draft in the near future.I have a particularly high level of respect for this friend’s opinion of my writing, so I told her I was nervous.Her response: “Drafts are … drafty.Even when they’re final drafts.”
I tilted my head and smiled.There was so much to love about that statement, and I instantly knew I needed to blog about it.At surface level, this would appear to be one of my writing blogs, but stick with me a minute.
“Drafts are. . . drafty” immediately conjured up an image of an old house. Windows far from energy efficient. Inadequate insulation.I can feel the cool air seeping through the handle of our patio door in winter, for example.Drafty means holes.In both houses and writing, sometimes, the holes are there from the beginning.Bad caulking. Poor quality doors.Whatever.When I read the second half of her statement, I paused. “Even when they’re final drafts.” With houses, that may be especially true.Perhaps, time has weathered a space or maybe an infestation of bugs or water broke down what was once a solid structure. Likewise, in writing, the revision process can create just as many problems as it solves, leaving the author to reconstruct the foundation. I got to thinking though, what if that’s the point?
A few weeks ago, I asked, “When is your manuscript done?”Today, my answer is, “Never.”Nothing is ever done.Everything is part of an ongoing process.I can replace the roof on my house, but I still need new carpet.Once the bathroom is updated, it’ll be time to freshen the landscaping.Always evolving.Always changing. Always drafty.
Of course, I want to repair the holes, fix the broken windows, and fill the cracks.I will always make that the top priority.But maybe, it’s time for me to do two things:
1.Stop expecting that anything will ever be complete, perfect, final, etc. It won’t, and the expectation only makes spin wheels waiting for the skies to open and revelation to come. Things can be done … enough.Things can be completeish.Almost perfect.It’s all in my expectation.
2.Start enjoying the process more. After all, there’s fun in finding the holes.The biggest joys in life come from the learning experience.I wouldn’t be a college professor if I didn’t believe that.Sometimes, I need to let go of the end goal so I delight in the process.
So can you live in a drafty house? Can you handle a few holes in your final draft?