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Dear First Draft …

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Carry on Writing

Hazel Gaynor

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the screamDear First Draft,

So, here we are again. Just you, me and a hundred thousand unwritten words stretching out towards the horizon.

I’d forgotten how terrifying you really are. So many words. So little time. You are so frightening that I’m considering scripting an episode of Doctor Who with you as the monstrous villain and submitting it to the Head of Terror at the BBC. Truly, you are the stuff of unimaginable nightmares.

And it’s a strange thing because here I sit, with two finished novels in front of me. I have never had this luxury before, never started a book with a book already completed and published. Perhaps this is the cause of my fear. How the heck did I do that? Can I do it again? Why does it feel so difficult this time?

I seem to have forgotten all my own advice about how to write a novel and I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how to write this book. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very, very excited about it. I have a tottering pile of fascinating research books I can’t wait to read and a head full of brilliant characters and snappy dialogue, but the process of getting all of that onto the page seems so massively impossible that I find myself making slice after slice of toast and finding old Pathe newsreels on YouTube. Anything to distract myself from the winking cursor and the blindingly white blank screen.

You are the monster under the bed. You are the Dalek in my Tardis. You are the Voldemort in every writer’s Hogwarts.


Of course, I know I will get over this. I know I will get there. I will turn on my force field and my light saber. I will use all my special powers to summon my protective patronus and I will remind myself that a book can only be written one word at a time. It’s just that right now, while I crunch on my fifth slice of toast this morning, it feels like each of those words I need to write is as difficult to grasp as a single butterfly among a flutter of thousands.

Perhaps if I grab a bag of Haribo and a very large net everything will be OK. Perhaps if I ban myself from social media it would help. Perhaps if I just stop thinking about it and start doing it – start actually WRITING – then the words will flow and the pages will fill up with magic.

Here’s hoping.

Yours, in fear.


p.s. I don’t expect a reply. I know you’ll be too busy terrifying some other poor unsuspecting writer out there in the first draft wilderness. You great big meanie.


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