Due to a slight obsession with cleanliness (not necessarily order), I have a one-year old who gets her face and hands wiped between far too many bites. I know, I know. All you seasoned moms are probably laughing at me or rolling your eyes. And I get it. But I justify my actions because, well, I hate having to do huge cleanup when I can do a bunch of little cleanups along the way (this is the same reason I use daily shower spray). I also justify my constant child-cleaning by referring you all to my child's enormous amount of hair.
Baby Girl at seven months
Seriously, children shouldn't have this much hair until they can realize that avocado-hands should not be run through such luxurious locks. But I digress.
I love editing. I love grammar. I love seeing the flow of sentences and paragraphs shape themselves into a cohesive whole. I love thinking of the perfect word, the most poignant phrasing to convey a thought, to evoke a response. I love this all so much, I tend to allow my inner editor to run rampant on a first draft before there even is a first draft. You seasoned drafters are probably laughing at me or rolling your eyes. And I get it. But I justify my actions because, well, I like doing it so darn much. I also justify myself by saying that this tendency served me quite well in high school and college.
The only problem is, I feel like my first draft, like Baby Girl, is getting the short end of the stick. Poor Baby Girl is missing out on the opportunity to experience meal times like a, well, baby. She's missing out on figuring out how to use a spoon herself, on figuring out what it feels like when you accidentally miss your mouth and smear your food on your cheek. Or nose. And I'm missing out on being surprised by how quickly she learns and seeing how much she enjoys the feel of food squelching through her chubby little fingers. Who wants to miss out on that?
Similarly, my first draft is missing out on the opportunity to be a first draft. It's missing out on figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up because I'm trying to force perfection out of characters and scenes and pages that would (and should) otherwise get the axe. And I'm missing out. I'm missing out on the experience of just letting thoughts fall out of my head to land on the page where they may. Heck, I'm missing out on getting to my second draft because I'm spending so much time on the daggum first draft that I can hardly see the story for the page.
But not anymore. I'm committing right now to letting my baby be a baby, darn it, and to letting my first draft be a work of utter, total rubbish. My baby deserves to grow up knowing how much fun it can be to make a mess. And my first draft deserves to have fun being a mess so it can finally (hopefully) grow up.
What about you? Have you evolved as a mom? As a writer? Any surprising correlations?