There is an odd feeling when you finish the first draft. There is an irrepressible urge to show everyone which must be repressed but is (I thought I just said this) irrepressible. Amateurs is now done. The first draft is now done. My last novel has so far run to 10 fully rewritten drafts, and those have come after it has been submitted to my agent. So actually we might be talking about closer to 15 drafts. Soon you begin to think that a final draft doesn't actually exist. The way there is no such thing as a perfect performance (or text) of Hamlet. There are simply a mass of performances, a mass of conflicting texts and somewhere hovering over everything is the ghost like uberHamlet that will necessarily never exist. Do you see how we're talking about my draft of my novel but somehow I managed to finagle the conversation round so that almost imperceptibly we're comparing me to Shakespeare. Funky, isn't it?
When you do a PhD you don't hand it in, you never finish it, rather you submit. I like that and that is also true of creative works of writing. Ultimately you give in. You accept that you have failed enough. Wordworth wrote so many versions of the Prelude you can cover a large tabletops with the various piles, and all you can do to get a definitive text is slice it like a salami via date. So what do I want you to take away from this?
Me, Shakespeare and Wordsworth, in the same sentence. Not bad.
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John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.