By Nick “Novel” Gabanski
If you’re just starting out in the field of writing, this will probably be the single most important piece of advice you will get when it comes to being a writer. And regardless of your genre, be it Fantasy, Sci/Fi, Drama, Romance, Comedy, Post-Apocalyptic (in which case you ought to feel ashamed of yourself), Action/Adventure, or Non-Fiction, memoirs, biographies, etc. etc. etc., this advice applies to all. You are allowed to write a sh*tty first draft.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen writers who are just starting out worry and fret over making everything absolutely perfect with their first version of work. Let me tell you something, Kiddies. If you stop and fix every little misspelling, grammatical error, and plothole among other inconsistencies, your work will NEVER be completed. Plain and simple, you just won’t finish what you started. Fun fact: the first novel I started back in my sophomore year of high school, I was 15 and didn’t know Brussel sprouts about writing. In the span of eight years, I’ve spent seven of those years revising and rewriting my novel. It’s been through at least six revisions now and the end is still not in sight. Just imagine how long you’d take if you tried to stop and fix everything as you wrote.
Another thing people don’t take into account when they want to self-edit on that first draft: it disrupts your creative flow. If you’re an artist or if you’ve ever picked up a good book, have you ever gotten so into the story/art that suddenly you blink and it’s four hours later than the last time you checked the clock? If you’re going to fix an error here and there while writing, guess what’s not going to happen. If you said “my creative flow won’t go”, you guessed correctly. I’ve got several errors right now in this blog piece as I write, but I’m not going to fix them up till I’m done saying what I have to say here.
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this piece, it’s you’re allowed to write a sh*tty first draft. Keep telling yourself that every time you open a laptop or pick up a writing utensil. Let it be your mantra as you let your words flow from your fingertips onto the page. Getting what you see in your mind’s eye into a physical existence is the hardest step. Once you have your stories and ideas and ideals written, it is so much easier to go back and fix whatever errors you may have made. No one is perfect and no perfect first draft will ever exist. Remember that and you will be well on your way to becoming a great writer.
Edited by: Maddy D.