Forgive me, for I am here to destroy your insecurities. Your excuses. That thing you do when you tell yourself that your first draft must be perfect. The illusion that great writing is born in a single moment of inspiration.
I want to destroy those things so you can get down to the business of writing. And that begins with first drafts.
First drafts tend to scare the hell out of most writers. Even the greats. Kurt Vonnegut said, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
So when a writer of his caliber makes a statement like that … do you think you will be any different?
The bitter truth is that nothing is as beautiful as you can imagine it. NOTHING. Not even your story, no matter how good you become, no matter how many books you read, or how many titles you have written.
Contrary to popular belief, writing is mostly rewriting.
So, how do you go about it all?
How does one silence the many, many demons that whisper to your ear the kind of words that stifle your creative spirit?
Well… you could follow a few simple rules. Ten, in fact …
- Close the door. It’s just you. Only you.
- Work in a physical and mental condition that makes you want to write. Get there by all means possible. Turn your phone off, the TV, throw your Internet router out the window.
- Write yourself silly.
- Allow your imagination to go to weird places. Nothing is off limits. You can clean up your mess later.
- Break every writing rule known to man.
- It’s OK if it reads like a letter from a lunatic.
- Steal from other writers, as all great writers do.
- Do not stop until it’s done.
- Once finished with your first draft, leave it alone for days — if not weeks.
- Celebrate. The worst has passed.
Well, it’s time for rewrites.