Writing a first draft

After many months on the road with book events and college visits and writers’ conferences I’m finally home for the remainder of the summer and writing a new story. As much as I love the IMG_0835process of starting with nothing but a blank page and an idea, I’ve been doing this long enough that I know how long its going to take me to get to a solid story that is ready to take into the world. And for that reason I have found great comfort in one of the birds that shares my yard.

Last year this bird built a nest above my porch. It looked like this–a marvel of avian engineering.

And this year I have seen no fewer than five failed attempts at a nest all over my yard. They look like this.IMG_0839

I kind of love it that even a bird doesn’t get something as elemental to bird-ness as building a nest right the first time. He did eventually succeed and we have baby birds about ready to fledge now. But I’m going to take these sagging collections of grass and twig as permission to make this first draft as messy as it needs to be. And I hope you will too.