Saturday, March 21, 2015

Crappy first draft

The joy of a crappy first draft. Can there be joy in such a thing? According to the Publication Coach, Daphne Gray-Grant, there is.

In fact, she says, “producing one is exactly what will turn you into a professional writer.” As writers, we may abhor that crappy first draft. How could such garbage have come from our own fingers dancing on the keyboard? 

If that is you, Gray-Grant says to ask yourself some questions. Who else is going to see the yucky thing? More than likely, no one. If so, then what does it matter? It is called a rough draft, after all. No one does anything perfect the first time, so there is no need to beat yourself up for adhering to human nature.

She list several reasons why crappy first drafts are important to writers. It will help you write faster. One of the things I love about NaNoWriMo is that November is the one month a year I can turn off my internal editor. It is a freeing experience, writing without the agony of perfecting every word and sentence. This is a first draft, a beginning, a place for you to tell yourself the story. Throw up the words on the screen and clean up later. Gray-Grant says there is a momentum that builds by piling up words, and that allows more to flow at a quick pace. 

According to Kathleen Duey, a recent WIFYR instructor, real writing takes place in the rewrite. The best writers don’t necessarily have talent as much as they have a commitment to rewriting. How do you divide up your dedicated writing time? If you could dash out a crappy first draft, that would free up more time to come up with a good second draft and an even better third. 

So, embrace that crappy first draft. It is an unavoidable necessity that is part of the process. Get that first draft out of the way in order to have something to work with. As E.B. White has said, “The best writing is in the rewriting.” 

(This article also posted at

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