“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my first draft sucked with a capital “S.” Halfway through chapter one, I wanted to take it out back and beat it with a hockey stick for wasting my time. I’d like to say this feeling dissipated as I got further along, that my confidence grew word by word, sentence by sentence. But I’d hate to lie to you. The truth is that I became more sure of the inevitable failure looming ahead of me, blocking my path to success.
Why do I keep feeding my time and energy into this clumsy, sub-par first draft? Why don’t I do something useful with these pages I’ve filled with twisted, broken sentences and use them to light a bonfire? At least then I could roast marshmallows and sing campfire songs. Simple: I don’t, because if I just quit and walk away, I know I’ll regret it more than if I try and fail.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never fully overcome my doubts and insecurities. Most writers don’t. It comes with the territory of being a writer. Writing is intimate. Writing is art and my stories are the reflections of my innermost thoughts, dreams, and fears. Having another person read (and potentially reject) the words that I’ve written is a scary notion that must be faced if I want to call myself a “writer.”
Of course, I fear that I’ll fail to write my story as I envision it. I worry that I won’t give my story or my characters justice. That fear nags at me every day, but I don’t want to shortchange myself either. But in spite of all this, the real reason I keep writing is because if I don’t try (and I mean really, really try) then I’m guaranteed to fail-and that right there, friends, is why I’m not serving campfire-roasted s’mores tonight.
Remember, the most relevant distinction between the writers that make it and those who don’t is perseverance. So, when the first draft gets rough, remind yourself that completion, regardless of quality, puts you miles ahead of those who quit. First drafts aren’t meant to be good, they’re only meant to be completed.
As always, thank you for reading.
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