All first drafts of anything are bad drafts. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing – the first version of it probably won’t be very good.
Understand and accept this, and suddenly the task of writing becomes a little bit easier, because it lifts a weight off your shoulders, and lets you use your first draft in the best way: as a playground for ideas.
Melksham is a small Wiltshire town a few miles from my house, and it’s where I rent an office. The drive from home to office takes me through pretty countryside – mostly flat, mostly green, mostly typical of the sort of countryside you get in this part of the world. But on the edge of Melksham itself there’s an area of low-lying fields either side of the river: nature’s flood protection mechanism. When the river swells, which it does after heavy rain, the fields disappear under a beautiful mirrored lake. As I drive past, I can see this flood plain to my right. In the mornings, the sun is rising on the other side of it, the light bouncing off the water. This morning I saw that scene again, but with added extras: overnight, the floodwater had frozen. The morning sun was bright, but weak, fighting against a thin but persistent fog. Steam was rising from the mile-long flood, thickening the fog above it. The flood itself was too bright to look at. Stalks of last summer’s crops were visible, poking up above the cracked, frozen water. It was spectacular. I would have stopped, obviously, and I would have taken pictures. But it’s a fast road, and there’s nowhere to stop, so I didn’t, and I typed this instead.
Quote of the week: “You haven’t really lived until you’ve driven a long way in a car with 3 under-12s on the back seat, all singing along loudly to ‘Whistling / whistling / Whistling / whistling / Dark / DARK! / dark / DARK!'”