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In the pause: A lesson in writing from Terry Prachett—just tell yourself a story

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ~Terry Prachett

I’ve been having trouble writing Emerson’s second book. I have a pile of index cards I shuffle around, but the truth is I’m nervous. I’m stalling. The first book was such a heavy life, but ignorance was bliss. I had no expectations of it except to write it down as truthfully as I could. I had been thinking about it for so long (5 years) before I started writing it that its scenes and words were well-etched in my mind.

This time is different. I feel more responsibility to get it right, to stay honest to what I created in the first book. I don’t want to let down Emerson. In my procrastination and stagnation, I found this quote from Terry Prachett. It made me feel a little bit bolder and braver, less cautious and concerned. There will come a time for refinement and revision, but that day’s not today. Today, I’m just letting Emerson tell me her story.

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