January 5, 2014
Sunday Spiel: Imperfect First Drafts (Yes, I'm Talking About Writing)
Hi everyone! Today I'm going to talk about writing. This is sort of unusual for me, as I don't normally talk about the fact that I love to write. (Mainly because I'm really insecure about it.) But I thought it was about time.
Before I get into this , I'd just like to say these are my opinions. I am in no way saying that you should have these opinions or that mine are correct. This is simply a post open to discussion, and you're free to share your opinions as well. :) I love hearing them!
I’ve begun working on plenty of ideas by now, but I always seem to give up once I hit the halfway point. It’s taken me a while to realize why, but I’ve narrowed it down to one main reason: fear of failure.
I am terrified of messing up. When you begin to flesh out a new idea, it plays like a movie in your head. You can see scenes the way you want them to be, and you promise yourself that you’ll be able to put them down on paper the right way so others can see them as well. But when you sit down to write that first draft, you’re afraid. What if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to? What if it turns into a mess of words that don’t make sense and scenes that go in the wrong direction?
I’m here to tell you something. It isn't going to turn out the way you want it to. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s ideal.
If you sat down to write said idea and it turned out perfectly on the first draft, it would be great, sure. But would you really learn anything from writing? Writing isn't just about writing. It’s about revision and finding out what works. It’s about learning from your mistakes. You couldn't do any of that if there were no mistakes in the first place.
The first draft will be and should be terrible. It should be a jumble of words. It shouldn't look the way it looked in your head. But it will eventually. That’s what revision is for. Once you've finished the first draft, you can polish it up like a new penny. But for now, it’s not going to be perfect.
First drafts are often called rough drafts for a reason. Fear of failure is something that every writer feels. It’s not unusual. But here’s another thought: it’s not necessary. If thinking of it like this makes it easier, every writer’s first draft fails. Everyone fails. And then they look at their failure, read through it, and polish it up for as long as they need to until it is no longer a failure. Until it is a novel.
If that’s not a good way of looking at it, then think of it like this: It’s okay to not do things perfectly on the first try. That’s why we receive second chances, whether it’s from ourselves or from other people. We’re only human.
So sit down and write that beautifully flawed first draft, and then create your masterpiece. Don’t worry about how good or bad it is for now. Just let the words flow.