Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A First Draft That Sucks

If you're dreaming about someday writing a book, I have a trick question for you. I'm betting it will sound familiar to long-time QWT readers:

Which is better: a first draft that sucks, or an idealized first draft that doesn't exist?

Believe it or not, most people choose the latter. It's just... easier.

All new writers must embrace the ugly truth: most of their first draft writing will be terrible. And knowing this, they somehow must figure out a way to keep writing.

All first drafts suck. Get over it, adjust your expectations, and accept the truth of what you're doing: you are going to complete a first draft that sucks, and then you will revise and improve that draft until it doesn't suck.

Your expectations must remain low when writing first-draft copy. Stay grateful for whatever you write, regardless of quality, and don't put pressure on yourself.

Remember, writing that sucks can be improved. You can't do anything with writing that doesn't exist.