I am officially an idiot. I’ve mentioned before that I’m writing my second draft in the old traditional way; as in I’m actually rewriting it. I printed out my first draft, went through it with a variety of pens and I’m now manually retyping the whole thing from scratch. It’s a bloody good way of doing it, although it is just as time consuming as the first draft.
I also write on a pretty strict timetable. I tend to write on the evenings my partner works (such as tonight) or when I’m travelling with work. I try and ensure I manage three writing sessions a week, in fact it’s even something I measure at work on a ‘health and wellness’ thing that we do. I’ll skip over the irony of writing being just about as far away from health and wellness as is feasibly possible, because that’s not my tale of woe for today.

I had a trip this week with work, replete with long train journey to and from, so that took care of two writing sessions. They were pretty hard going but I managed to eke out 1000 words each way. As I mentioned E is working this evening, so I dispatched the kids to their rooms and cracked open the laptop with a view to crossing off session number three.

Naturally I don’t carry the whole first draft with me, just the chapter I’m working on usually. I had originally planned to keep the first draft pages for sentimental reasons but pretty quickly the novelty of trying to keep the discarded pages and the rest separate wore thin, and I decided to junk them as I go. When I’m working at home the current chapter sits on top of a bookcase, far away from the prying eyes and scissor happy tendencies of my children.

So imagine my surprise when I reached up to my hiding place, pulled down the pages and realised I was holding the same notes I’d used earlier in the week. I was pretty sure I’d binned them, but here they were anyway. But where were the rest of the pages? Twenty minutes of frantic searching ensued, until what was blindingly obvious from the off was confirmed. I’d junked the wrong pages. At this point I may have issued a manly wail of despair.

Thankfully my lovely partner texted me to go out and check the recycle bins, where I found the pages buried between sodden copies of the Evening Press and discarded cereal boxes. They’re soaked right through thanks to the typical English bank holiday weather, but I’ve managed to separate them out and stick them on the radiators to dry out. God knows what state they’ll be in by then but they should be legible enough to work from at the least.

I think tonight will have to end up as a washout, quite literally, but it’s amazing how one lapse in concentration can utterly derail me. Count this as a lesson learned.


The pages have dried, and look like something you’d find in a museum, which is fun. To the writing!

The pages

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