Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writing Crappy First Drafts

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a [crappy] first draft.” -- Anne Lamott in bird by bird.
It feels like I've posted a number of quotes lately discussing first drafts. Maybe that's because they're so hard to write. Many authors say the best way to do it is to start writing and don't worry about what you write. Ms. Lamott nails the reason most people don't/can't do this. We're trained early in our lives to be perfect. Get all As. Don't cause trouble. Be a perfect gentleman/lady.

But as writers, we can't. There may be one lucky soul out there who writes perfect first drafts, but only one. The rest of us slog through ugly dialog, wimpy descriptions, and mixed metaphors until we finish a first draft that may have little resemblance to the final product. At least, that's what happens to many of mine.

It's hard to break away from the idea of perfection. It's too ingrained in us, but I'm getting closer. Let's give a cheer for crappy first drafts!

1 comment:

latisha said...

here here. im struggling with this in my workshop right now. its about 'workshopping' the piece right? its not the final. its not getting submitted, yet each week i find myself anxietized about making it perfect.

erg. thanks for the reminder. and your blog again. computer was at the doc for a while. i felt so lost without it!