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.
Leave a Reply