Shitty First Draft

Shitty First Draft

There is a Sir Terry Pratchett’s quote that is a part of my personal gospel: the first draft is just you telling the story. The gist is that we should not be self-critical about the first draft. We should blaze ahead with creative abandon rather than get in our own way at such an early stage.

I like this Anne Lamott quote for being even more explicit.

“Almost all good writing begins with
terrible first efforts. You need to
start somewhere. Start by getting
something – anything – down on paper.
What I’ve learned to do when I sit
down to work on a shitty first
draft is to quiet the voices in my head.”

When I sat down to work on Monday, I had significant first draft writing to do on three chapters because of some changes I made and plot points I’ve added or removed. I knew that if I thought too much about what I was doing, I’d slow myself down. If I tried to do too much editing in the midst of writing, I’d get bogged down and defeat the purpose of my writing session. Y’all, I wrote some excellently shitty first draft stuff. Based on my experience, I have faith in my ability to clean the shit out and add more quality in the editing rounds to follow. The priority was to write what I intended to have happen in those chapters, even if I didn’t nail the dialog, or scene details or anything of the ‘finish carpentry’ of the piece.

My goal is to have a complete updated draft of the manuscript by the end of March for my first readers. And following the lead of Sir Terry and Anne, and many other writers before me, I will make it happen.

More shitty drafts, here I come!

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