Sunday, May 29, 2016

First drafts - just get the words out

I post this advice from author Neil Gaiman with some trepidation, having just spent a solid twelve months fixing words that were relatively easy to draft. But it's true, if you let your inner critic sit in your lap while you type, you're going to get your hands and words bitten all over until there are almost no words left and no hands willing to make them appear.

So in the words of Anne Lamott, "Shitty first drafts". Just write them. Apologize to yourself over a glass of wine. And then write more. And later, much later, when the keyboard is a distant memory and your words read like someone else's shitty first draft, fix them up pretty and apply all sorts of costuming and lighting effects, hang the stage with nice heavy velvet curtains and gold braid, and bring in every theatrical trick you have. Just don't start with the stage machinery. Start with first pristine words and later clean off their faces and begin the hard work. Here's some encouragement:

Jane Friedman on how revising rewards mistakes