Friday, October 28, 2011

Why a First Draft is Like a Day at the Farm

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of chaperoning my son's field trip to a farm. Since I grew up in the country, I knew what I was getting into and wore old jeans and hiking boots. We clearly had two groups of parents--those comfortable with a farm's unique qualities and those who wished they could dip themselves in a vat of Purell. It made for a fun time!

Several things on the farm reminded me of my first drafts.

1. Barn cats, like secondary characters, weave in and out throughout the day, stopping for a quick pet or a nap in a patch of sunlight. They aren't the main attraction, but they enhance the overall setting.

2. The draft, like the grounds, will be mucky in some places, hard in others, and extra words (and straw) will be everywhere.

3. Subplots will need to be tended to even if they, like the penned animals, aren't in our direct path.

4. Sometimes a fantastic twist will be added for fun, much like the peacock strutting its way along a barn roof.

5. Sections of the draft will bring the warm fuzzies, and you'll feel as if you're sitting on a bale of hay with a baby bunny in your arms.

6. The draft will stink. The scent of manure, decaying crops, and wet dog will permeate the area. That's okay. First drafts can smell.

7. By the end of the draft, the chaos will have order. Farmers move through their day in a logical progression, just as first drafts do by the time we've finished them. They still carry a stinky aroma, still have mucky areas, and still have a stray cat unaccounted for, but revisions will polish all of that up.

How are your first drafts like a day at the farm?

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Ha ha!I bet there are a zillion things to compare first drafts too. A crazy is a great one!

  2. Great analogy, Jill. I grew up in the country, on a non-working farm, i.e. 40 acres, but just a large garden and leased most of the pasture. I know about those smells, both on a farm and a draft. ;-)

  3. Very true - and definitely strikes a chord with me right now!

  4. Good morning!

    Laura: I could have gone on and on--the farm is just full of personality!

    Kerry: Same here. We didn't raise animals, but my aunts and uncles did. I loved growing up in the country. :)

    Deborah: Ha! Yeah, first drafts AND farms aren't tidy. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. lol, cute post. I hope that after a day of farming my words, I'm on my way to harvesting a great story! Happy Friday, Jill ...

  6. LOL Love this analogy!! Since I love farms-- I love writing first drafts--they are relaxing and don't have to worry about much.

  7. Love the analogy, Jill! And LOL over the vat of Purel comment! Have a great weekend.

  8. Oh you had too much fun w/ this one, didn't you? :D

    Love that #6. Pee ew! Happy Friday!
    ~ Wendy

  9. Best analogy ever, lol. I think the barn cats are my favorite one. And the stinky part - true on both accounts!

  10. Such a lovely way of describing a draft! I'm going to chase the kitties now.

  11. :) I love it. My dad was a farmer and a rancher. I loved growing up on the farm.

  12. Joanne: Oh, yes! All the hard work eventually gets harvested--how could I forget that??

    Terri: You're right. The pace on a farm is relaxed!

    Kathy: Thanks! It's funny how we all view things differently!

    Wendy: I did. :) Pee-ew, indeed!

    Stacy: Ha! Thanks! Those cats are everywhere and nowhere. Trust me!

    Mariam: Me too. I wanted to stuff a couple in my jacket and take them home with me, but that wouldn't have been a good thing to do. :)

    Julie: Didn't you love it? I get energized being out in the country. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. They are usually exciting (to me,)nostalgic, and smelly. But I tend to love first drafts as I love the novelties of a farm.

    Cute analogy.

  14. This was cool! When I read the title, I had an idea in my mind that matched up with #6 above. :)

  15. Haha! Super analogy. Love it. Nice and creative, and accurate as well. I'm in the muck-cleaning stage, and chasing a few stray cats. :)

  16. Well, they definitely STINK! That's for sure.

  17. Nancy: Same here--I don't mind the stink as long as I know it won't last forever!

    Erica: Ha! You knew THAT one would be in there. :)

    Carol: I'm always chasing a few stray cats in my books. :)

    Katie: Ha! They do. It's true. ;)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  18. What a clever analogy, Jill. My first drafts do stink, but with hard work they grow into something much better.

  19. I think this is one of my favorite writing analogies to date! Thanks, Jill!

  20. Jill:
    I grew up in a city. Hubby lived in a farming community until the summer he was 17. Because of this I have to let him pick out certain fruit that he used to pick.
    When we visited that area a few years ago. We were looking for his friend. The man's mother told us what he was doing and how to get out there. We couldn't find him. He was using a one-man hay bailer.(makes those big round bales.) I saw something that had a round bale in it and had hubby turn around and drive back by it. What I saw was a feeding station for the animals. He razzed me until his friend's mother stuk up for me.

  21. Hi Jill,

    I wanted to stop by and say how much I enjoy reading your blog. It's rare that I always look forward to the email subscriptions that I am signed up with, but your blog is always one I look forward to reading! Thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge.

    That said, as a way of saying thank you, I have chosen your blog for the "Leibster Blog Award". You can check it out by going to my site:



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