One of my biggest setbacks as a writer is how much I hate my initial drafts. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the myth of the lone author, just sitting their at a keyboard alone and banging out a flawless work in one marathon session. Experience has taught me that real writing is nothing at all like that. It’s messy and comes in fits and starts.
Beth Nyland over at PR Daily shared some great advice on writing that messy first draft and the benefits you get out of that effort, however terrible it turns out. My favorite on her list of reasons to write an awful first draft is:
6. You become a writer. You know what makes someone a writer? Writing. When you write a first draft—even if it’s an utter disaster—that’s what you’re doing. So for heaven’s sake, lighten up and enjoy the practice.
Write something awful. Only one person has to see your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad draft: you. If you’re agonizing to satisfy someone’s lofty expectations for perfection, stop. Lower your expectations this instant.
Write like a professional: Write something awful.
Writers write, and letting myself feel blocked or setback because of how terrible I think my early attempts are is a surefire way to not become a writer. Learning to live with my first draft and keep pressing on is a skill that I’m still learning, but it’s one that I’m glad I’m taking up.
I’ll be on the road this weekend to attend a friend’s wedding, but I’ll get back to posting early next week. In the meantime, keep writing!