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On The Seventh Day of Christmas


On The Seventh Day of Christmas

Here we are, day seven, New Year’s Eve and we are about to say goodbye to 2022 and see what 2023 has in store for us.

I was lucky enough to share a publication day with AJ Gnuse, both of our debut novels were published in this country on April 1, 2021. Adam’s novel Girls in the Walls also had a US release too. So your writing advice today comes from all the way across the pond, Adam is a New Orleans lad but currently living in Texas — don’t say I don’t go that extra mile to bring you the best writing advice from across the world!

Today, he talks to you about that problematic first draft, and I find what he says really speaks to my own writing experience. Let me know if you agree. And so, allow me to introduce you to A J Gnuse…

A J Gnuse

When writing first drafts, leave the critical part of yourself out of the picture. You can’t be creative and critical at the same time—the whole act of being creative, and the pleasure we get from it, comes from being unbound. So much of the joy of writing is discovering where your imagination has whisked you away to. Worrying about whether your writing’s any good is like going for a run with a chain wrapped around your ankle.

“I had a teacher who told me there was no such thing as writer’s block—simply writers who were trying to write the second or third draft of a story on their first go. First drafts are supposed to be whimsical, strange, illogical. They’re not supposed to be questioned when you’re writing them. That’s true for first drafts of fiction, poetry, technical writing, emails, and so on. Allow yourself to be surprised by what you write. There will be good stuff there.

“And, sure, it will need to be corralled or trimmed later—but that’s a job for future-you. In the meantime, let go. Enjoy the process. Enjoy yourself.”

• A. J. Gnuse is the author of Girl in the Walls. You can find more about him and his work here.


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