I'm still working on the first draft of the YA novel version of Between Souls, and I'm loving it. I can finally add all of the descriptions that I worked to hard to create in the screenplay, then had to delete because they didn't belong in that format. I haven't given up on the movie, but I think this next step of translating it into a novel is important for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that I get to spend more time with the characters, redefining their goals and pushing them even further into the story.
When I write, I know it seems like I'm just sitting there, not doing much. But in fact, the wheels in my head are turning and rejecting thoughts as they produce new ones, and it's harder than it looks. My fingers are moving quickly, and I may even be looking out the window, but I'm still working.
When I knit, I have something to show for my time. I have rows and rows of stitches, beautiful in their simplicity, and lovely to feel with my fingertips. When I run, I have my iPhone pedometer and I know how far I went and how long it took me. There's even a handy graph of my running history if I want to look back. Even when I vacuum, there are nice lines where the vacuum made its mark on the floor, and the crumbs no longer dot my carpet. There's a feeling of accomplishment.
But when I write, I can work for days on one paragraph, finish it, place it where it belongs, and then delete it entirely because it no longer fits with the whole. Does that mean I haven't accomplished anything? No, of course not. I just don't have the traditional "something to show for it."
I think that's why a printed draft, as messy and incomplete as it may be, is a step I need to take once in a while. I need to see and feel those printed pages so that I can say, "Here it is. This is what I have to show for my hard work." And even if I'm the only one who ever sees it, it's enough for me to know it's there.