This is also where I spell check. My spelling is miserable, so I’m grateful for the technology. Except when it doesn’t work. What do you mean Word Not Found? It’s a damn word!
Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is the pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it, cause there’s nothing there to fix.
It’s a sort of computery thing: if you’re typing, *putting stuff down* is work. If you’ve got a computer, adding stuff is not work, *choosing* is work. It sort of expands a bit like a gas, if you have two things you could say, you say both of them. If you have stuff you want to add, you add it. And I thought I have to not do that, otherwise my stuff is going to balloon and it will become gaseous and thin.
So what I love, if I’ve written stuff on a computer and I loose a chunk, it feels like I lost work, if I delete a page and a half I feels like that page and a half just went away, and that’s a page and a half’s worth of work I’ve just lost. If I’ve been writing in a notebook and I’m typing it up, and I can look at something and I can go “I don’t need this page and a half” and I leave it out, I just saved myself work, and it feels like I’m treating myself.
It emphasises for me that nobody is ever meant to read your first drafts. Your first draft can go way off the rails, your first draft can absolutely go up in flames, it can change, the age, gender, number of a character, you can bring somebody dead back to life… Nobody ever needs to know anything that happens in your first draft. It’s you telling the story to yourself… And then I’ll sit down and type and put it down in a computer. As far as I’m concerned, the second draft is where I try to make it look like I knew what I was doing all along.
A solid rule for writers:
You don’t have to write, you have permission to not write. But you don’t have permission to do anything else.