Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My First Time: Too Soon to Share?

The first draft is always crap
A few years ago I decided to figure out how to solve the Rubik's Cube once and for all.  It was a total disaster.  

The pure number of methods available on the Internet was encouraging.  So many ways to go about this!  How could I not solve it on my first attempt?

I spent hours upon end twisting and turning and driving concepts into my skull.  It should have been easy to pull it all together.

Supremely confident, I invited co-workers to watch me solve the cube.  How embarrassing!  I rallied an audience way before I was ready. 

Don't let this happen with your writing.

There is freedom in knowing that your first draft is not going to be goodat least not ready.  It will be messy.  You're going to make mistakes.  And if you show it to anyone too soon, I guarantee you will be embarrassed.  But that's okay.

That's perfectly normal.

We are halfway into NaNoWriMo and inevitably some of us are itching to have others read our works in progress.  But now is the time to write, not edit.  Although the prose flowing out of your fingertips might seem profound to you, it's still going to be crap at first.  No exceptions.  This is especially the case when we are all scrambling to achieve this ridiculous word count in November.  Face it, it's going to be mostly garbage.

That's okay.  It has to be that way.

This is how your story is born.

It's not an insult to say your first draft is crap.  It's about letting go of your inner critic and being free enough to get down the important points and essense of your story.  Let's finish it first.

Garbage is really important.

Your first draft should be compost for your story.  Let something beautiful grow from it.  Remember when you were a kid running into the house to urge Mom to smell the scoop of compost you dug up for her?  No?  Well, of course not.  Because nobody does this.  You need to wait until the flowers come up before you can share them.  And they will, with time.

So for now, enjoy your first draft and let it fester.  It will be beautiful soon enough.

Happy Writing!


  1. Welcome to the world of NaNoWriMo! I think it quite cool that you've picked up on the secret to actually completing Nano on your first try.

  2. Hi Mieke,
    Hopefully I can heed my own advice and actually finish. It's so tempting to go back and edit too.
    Thanks for commenting! Good luck to you, too!

  3. There's always NaNoEdMo to polish that prose in February. Good luck with your work-in-progress. :)

  4. :D A lot of red ink will be slung for sure!