It feels a little like stepping off the bowsprit into the deep, and watching the boat sail away.

Today I began free writing the new (yet untitled) novel, longhand, in a wide-lined composition book.   It feels scary, but less so in longhand on a schoolgirl’s notebook than directly onto the computer.  I can write notes in the margins, I can doodle, I can line through but not delete or obliterate.   My composition book is my flotation device.  (I’m not a good swimmer!)

My writing process, like my swimming or skiing, has always been effective, exhilarating, but awkward to watch.  A little out of control.  Not exactly precise.   But I’m getting somewhere.

When I write I feel like I’m gasping, grasping, flailing, drowning; until I write that one electrifying paragraph, that one sentence that feels like yes!  It’s the spark of life itself; God reaching down out of the clouds of the Sistine Chapel with outstretched hand.  I know those words will come and that faith keeps me paddling, keeps me from giving up.

After the first draft, which might be little more than a narrative outline with fragments of dialogue thrown in, I’ll put it onto the computer, adding as I go.  Then I’ll have a rough draft, which will feel like a rough raft on that deep frightening ocean of subconsciousness.  All I have to do then is fashion a sail and try to find my way home.