Get the Words Down

Your first draft of anything is going to be garbage. Accept it and go on. Write the story or whatever you are writing. You can always fix it later. Don’t worry about getting the exact right word on the first try. The odds are against that happening. You are not going to get the story down perfectly the very first time. Anyone who tells you that they did are stretching the truth, or else they edit it as they go. That’s OK, but often it’s better to get the story down first and then do the revising.

Revision is where you fix the things that are not quite right the first time. If you spend too much time on finding the exact right word, you will never finish your piece. Accept the not-so-perfect word and move on. Get the words out, that should be your goal. You can always revise the work. That way, you can get your first draft done. Then you can start revising. That’s the thought behind NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, which is next month. That’s the challenge where you write fifty thousand words in thirty days.

It doesn’t matter if you end up with fifty thousand words of nothing. The point is that you have the fifty thousand words to play with. They may not be perfect. They may not be the final words you use in the piece and that is the point. If you find a better word during revision, you can change it. That’s what is beautiful about this. You can always change your words.

However, you can’t change the words that are not written. Spit the words out and fix them later. That’s the rough in rough draft. No one expects perfection out of the first draft. Get the rough draft down in its entirety before you start to rewrite the piece. That’s all you need to do. Get the words out and then let the piece rest.

Once you get the story completely written, you let it rest. Then you can read the story with fresh eyes and often you find that all you need to do is replace a few words and add a few more, possibly even remove a few words and you have a good story. That’s the fun of writing. You have to let some time pass between the time that you write and revision.

That’s why you need to get the words out. That’s the idea. Get the words out and the story will follow. With revision, you can get something worthwhile. Remember what farmers use to get a good crop — manure. If your first draft is manure, you need to work it until it becomes a thing of beauty. If you hold out for that beauty before the work is completed then you are unlikely to ever get the story to come out. Writing the rough draft is harder if you try to produce something perfect on the first try. It’s better to get the words out and revise them later.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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Posted in Writing Fiction

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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