First Drafts are Killers
You could join the Foreign Legion.
You could cross Antarctica on foot.
Or you could write the first draft of a novel.
Personally, I’d say the first two are easier.
Because in the first draft (of fiction, of nonfiction, of a screenplay) we are facing the blank page.
In other words, we’re confronting Resistance in its purest and most merciless form day after day after day.
People ask me sometimes, “When is Resistance strongest?” The answer is easy.
At the start.
The invasion of Europe was hardest on D-Day. The civil rights movement was hardest at the first sit-in.
First drafts are, in their way, even harder because even after we’ve established a beachhead with Chapter One or Act One, we still have the weight of the whole project before us, day after day after day.
The professional arms herself for this ordeal. She steels herself in advance for the task, knowing it’s going to test her like no other aspect of the enterprise.
P.S. I write this post as I’m about to plunge in on a first draft. Full disclosure: I am scared sh*tless.