A to Z Challenge – Day 6: F is for First Draft

Hi all,

Hope you all had a fab weekend. Mine was busy to say the least – but back to the routine today and back to this challenge. Today I wanted to talk about first drafts. I don’t know any writers who don’t constantly get insecure about their work – sadly it goes with the territory. I know personally just how crippling it can be. Writing was something I had wanted to do for a long time but that insecurity blocked me to the point that I didn’t dare even try because I was so convinced that anything I put down would be complete rubbish. Most writers are also huge readers, and while reading books by talented authors can be very inspiring it can also be quite intimidating. You question how you could ever produce something to that standard so you don’t even see the point in the trying.

first draftOf course, what you see from those writers is the tweaked, edited and polished final draft they show to the world. One of the most important things to try and realise if you are to become a writer is that everyone starts out writing rubbish! Even the most amazing and talented writers will no doubt have pages of words that they would cringe over if they saw the light of day. Don’t expect to write a masterpiece or a bestseller straight away. Don’t even expect to write something halfway decent straight away. Writing is something that needs to be practiced and worked on, the more you practice the better you get. After all, would you expect to be able to play an instrument perfectly the day you picked it up, or be able to paint a stunning oil painting as soon as you took up a brush? Of course not! Yet there seems to be something about writing that causes people to feel they should be able to be naturally brilliant at it, or there’s something wrong with them and they might as well give up.

First drafts for me often consist of what I like to affectionately call ‘word vomit’ put on the page. As the master here says, it is you telling yourself the story. It is getting it straight in your own mind, working through your plot, exploring your characters, making everything tie up and follow through and hopefully all work out in the end. It often has random bits that I know I need to change, or rearrange slightly, or even cut out altogether. It generally needs tidying up, it often has consistency errors and don’t get me started on the grammar – but it’s there and it’s complete! By having a first draft, getting over all those insecurities and getting your story down on paper then you have something that you can work on, edit, tidy, polish and eventually, hopefully feel happy with. If you worry so much that you don’t even let yourself start then you have nothing but a lot of blank pages.

Hope the week brings you inspiration! Take care x


8 responses to “A to Z Challenge – Day 6: F is for First Draft”

  1. Both excellent and encouraging quotes, along with your own wise words. Even someone like Jodi Picoult knows the travails of insecure writers.

  2. Thanks! This post comes at a good time. My April Camp Nanowrimo. I’m completely unsatisfied with my word count and not entirely happy with what I do have.

    1. Hang in there! I’ve done Nano a few times, not always managed to complete it but I figure that if you manage more words then you normally would have done that month then it’s a win 🙂

  3. It’s exactly the same for poetry! I’m doing a poem a day for the A-Z, and it is so hard to make sure that I don’t post what is just my thought stream, rather than a poem! Editing, editing, editing, and another opinion I find very helpful, as you don’t see yourself (well I don’t) where you are going wrong so quickly! That is – when I am not posting just a small, funny little ditty.

    ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleeoet.com ~Animal poems and facts, and info about my assistance dog!

  4. Oooh… http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com that should be! Deary me… didn’t edit! lol!

  5. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement! I especially like the idea that a first draft is just you telling yourself the story. That makes it all so much less scary!

    Looking forward to reading the rest of your alphabet!

  6. A really useful post. I see my first draft as a ‘zero’ draft, I write knowing I will have to make changes. Nice to connect and follow through a to z http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

  7. […] -Her post for the letter F during A-Z really inspired me as I currently work on my first draft of a series of adventure […]

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