Okay, I made something that's on its way to becoming a book. It's a complete first draft: twenty-two chapters and a coda, an epigraph and a table of contents.
Now, I'm working the revision toward a second draft, and I'm a little stalled at chapter 15, but it's for the best that I'm stuck because there's something it still needs to say. There's no panic, no writer's block, just a lot of walking through the city and drifting and going to bed early and seeing what my dreams have to offer up in the morning.
Holding a first draft -- slipping its pages into a binder and seeing it whole -- transformed how I relate to the work, and to myself as a writer.
Whatever it is you're working on, keep working it.
Scrolling through the 1,739 photos that are stored on my telephone, I came across this silly three bar comic I drew for my son last year. Mind you, I cannot make straight lines and most of my circles resemble spaghetti squash and three-dimensionality doesn't stand a chance in my hands. I've always been super self-conscious about how bad I am at drawing.
But when my sister gave me Lynda Barry's Syllabus last year, I started to play around with Ivan Brunetti's style of drawing, which she introduces as a "common starting place that is like the starting place we all share: our first drawings of people made when we were little." Even I could do it! While I haven't advanced all that much, it's still fun and feels rad to draw little people doing weird things.
Another writer asked me last night what books inspired me, and I can't believe I didn't mention Syllabus. Seriously, through its pages I discovered ways to bring play back into my boring adult life, push myself, come up with cool and kooky projects to do with my little guy, and a myriad of sketches to embarrass myself with.
I'm even teaching a class this spring at the Hugo House called "Lynda Barry's 7-Minute Diary." (Hey -- sign up for my newsletter so I can send the link when all the details are settled!)
After my son and I took a big walk, I decided to draw a scene from our day. Here is my favorite frame from that comic -- the dragon of dark as he proclaims himself to be leader and me, the "serpent."
Now go draw something!!!
Notes on music, mamahood, and the writing life from a part-time blog keeper.