Skipping the present to get to the future

There’s frost here this morning. Our shake roof glistens white in the sunshine, and trails of mist play at the edges of the marsh. An e-mail from family in the southeastern corner of the province brought photos of their first major snowfall — 22 cm that delighted the children but required plowing at 5 a.m. to ensure everyone could get to work and school.

I love the early fall, when bright colours dapple the landscape. It’s my favourite season.

Geese on the go in the Fraser Valley

Geese on the go in the Fraser Valley

Fall on the Fraser River

Fall on the Fraser River

Mist on our lake in BC's Cariboo

Mist on our lake in BC’s Cariboo

I’m not so enamoured by late fall. We west coasters know that many weeks of grey skies and constant rain are on the horizon. But if I dwell on what is to come, I won’t fully appreciate the present.


When it comes to my writing, during November if I’m not revising one particular manuscript I’m working on the first draft of another. That one is still new and I don’t have a clear view of its ending. As I work on preliminary scenes I’m sometimes tempted to skip ahead and try to figure out exactly how my characters solved their dilemma. However, to do so would mean missing the excitement of discovery along the way. For now, I plan to focus on the present and worry about how the future unfolds when the time comes.

There are many different ways of constructing a novel. What’s your process during a first draft?

~  ~  ~

7 thoughts on “Skipping the present to get to the future

  1. S. Etole says:

    These depict the beauty of your season well.

  2. I’ve written only one novel, but I recall that I pressed forward through the first draft without much backward glancing, except to refresh in my mind on what I’d already written.

  3. Darlene says:

    If we think to much about the future, in life as in writing, we miss too much of the present for sure. I try to let my story, and my life, unfold as it will. (although I am a planner so this is sometimes hard for me to do) A nice reminder. Thanks Carol.

  4. Love the Fall on the Frasier River picture. The trees look like lace against the sky.

    I haven’t been writing much lately, but your words encouraged me with daily living… to focus on the now and not fret about the future. Thanks, Carol.

  5. Judith Robl says:

    Thank you for a pertinent post for me. I’m in the middle of a large (non-writing) project which seems never to end. You reminded me just to do for today without borrowing tomorrow’s challenges.

  6. I’m also working on a new manuscript. As a SOTP writer, I generally know the beginning and the end. If I don’t have a clear vision of where I’m headed, it’s difficult for me to get there.

    Like my manuscripts, I know I’m headed to an eternity with my Lord. My decisions are made with that joyful expectation in mind. I don’t always know what will happen in the vast middle, but I trust Him to lead me.

  7. Carol says:

    It’s nice hearing from all of you today. I especially like how Susan Reinhardt refers to “the vast middle” of life, and trusting God to lead through it. It made the words of that Ted Creen song pop into my head: “Lead me Jesus, I will follow. Down the dusty pathways, all along the sea.”

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