Shitty First Draft

I’ll be honest. I have always imagined my favorite authors just sitting down, looking at their computer or pencil and paper, and performing effortless magic. It is only moments like this that I actually remember that they are human and probably have times where they probably hate their job as much as anyone else. Writing is hard! I never truly realized it until it never got easier. Being able to get your thoughts on paper collectively and relatively organized is difficult because you are then forced to get all the details straight in your head. This is why shitty first drafts are your bestest friend!

Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott is an extremely accurate description of my writing process for anything and everything. Half of the time when I write all I want is to slam my head against the wall and hope no one reads what I wrote. That first draft honestly belongs in the toilet. Yet, as you write that first draft certain sentences, or thoughts, jump out at you. Now, some jump out at you in the “What the heck was I thinking?!” way, but sometimes they look back at you glowing in their perfection with a halo overhead. When those little angels sing to you all that must be done is for you to run with them, take their melody, and add the harmony and ornaments. Easier said than done. When you have those one or maybe two decent thoughts, then you have read and reread your shitty first draft. You got to take that awful red pen, I usually use purple to brighten it up, and strike out the offending garbage and dress up the less offensive junk. After you have done that, you have a reasonable draft that can now pass as 3rd grade acceptable! By this point I am just wanting to give up, but third times the charm right? Yeah…On that third, or tenth, magical draft you finally have a paper full of substance. Finally, your symphony is being rehearsed for its final time and the next performance will be the big concert! Very exciting… extremely nerve wracking. That nervousness, that trial and error, those awful moments and that perfect performance, are what make writing fun and rewarding. That shitty first draft is horrible for sure, but it is only the beginning of a very rewarding process, even if you don’t ever realize it.

Now, for the sake of writing about shitty first drafts, I have only gone over this post purely for spelling errors. I decided to not edit sentences, change a thought sequence, or really do anything. Shitty first drafts make you cringe. When I read what I wrote just now I am defiantly cringing, but having this here, seeing its potential, knowing I can do better is what is inspiring about learning how to write.

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