Why your first draft is gold

Why your first draft is gold

Your first draft shouldn't be good but a broken mosaic of ideas and plans, a discombobulated blueprint, a myriad of ideas susceptible to change- an attractive mess.

When Sylvia Plath wrote, she kept her rejection letters on her wall right in front of her, inescapable from her view. Plath quotes ''I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.'' This attitude of fearlessness is similar to embracing the imperfect first draft. Accept your crappy first draft in the same way Plath welcomed her rejections.

Your first draft isn't the sum of what you can do, nor were Plath's rejections representative of her abilities.

Keep your rambling first draft because that is the basis of where it all grows

As Anne Lammot says ''Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something- anything- down on paper. What i've learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head''.

Every word Lammot expresses here are words to keep in your echo chamber. The most important thing to do with the first draft is to keep going and not listen to those intrusive voices. Get it down anyway because that's the nature of the first draft-

to get it down.

How might drafting itself look? *these are four ways but by no means, the only ways in which people draft

A might enjoy writing to a word limit and then doing this a number of times, until they feel they have a basis they can continue from

B might enjoy rewriting over the draft, so continuously editing, until ta-da, they have their piece (though bear in mind, this defeats the functionality of the shitty first draft)

C might enjoy doing a Plath and having their first draft printed out before them along side perhaps with other scribbled notes, and having this exposed to see how the ideas have developed since

D might enjoy writing the draft and annotating it to death and sharing it out for feedback until they then start to write outside of draft territory

However you draft, its important to remember that you will likely hate your first draft and perhaps even feel embarrassed by it but it is the first step of the next step, which feeds into the artistry of writing your piece of literature.

It may not make sense to your creative ambitions to throw things onto paper without carefully considering stylistic elements, but it is important to write without limits. You need the original content to make those changes and create its shape.

Anything that has been made that is good, didn't start out in is final form, that doesn't seem right, does it?

Some other useful messages from writer's about the shitty first draft:

''Get it all down. Let it pour out of you and onto the page. Write an incredibly shitty, self-indulgent, whiny, mewing, first draft. Then take out as many of the excesses as you can''- Anne Lamott

''The first draft is just you telling yourself the story''- Terry Pratchett

''It doesn't matter if its good now, it just needs to exist''- Austin Kleon

So, write your first draft in absence of judgement and begin because you can't lovingly curate and develop without starting.