Writing a crappy first draft seems counterintuitive. I mean, who wants to invest time and effort into creating something that is subpar? But the truth is, there is immense value in allowing yourself to write a less-than-stellar initial version of your work. Here’s why:
Many aspiring writers are paralyzed by the fear of producing imperfect work. By embracing the concept of a crappy first draft, you give yourself permission to let go of perfectionism. It frees you from the pressure of creating a flawless masterpiece from the start, allowing you to focus on generating ideas and getting your thoughts on paper.
A first draft is an opportunity to explore and experiment. It’s a chance to let your ideas flow without the constraints of structure, grammar, or syntax. By giving yourself the freedom to write poorly, you open up the creative floodgates and may stumble upon unique insights, unexpected plot twists, or brilliant character developments that would have remained hidden in a quest for perfection.
You can’t edit a blank page. Writing a crappy first draft sets the foundation for iterative improvement. It provides you with a starting point that you can refine, revise, and polish through subsequent drafts. The important thing is to get the words out of your head and onto the page. Once you have something tangible, you can then shape and mold it into a more coherent and compelling piece of writing.
A crappy first draft allows you to detach yourself emotionally from your work. Since you already know it’s not your best effort, you can approach it with a critical eye and a willingness to make bold changes. This objectivity is essential for effective editing and revision, enabling you to spot weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and make the necessary adjustments without being overly attached to the initial version.
Writing a crappy first draft can be a liberating and productive process. You can’t edit a blank page, but you can edit a big pile of sub-par pages into literary gold.
If you could use some support on your journey, book a time for us to chat. In addition to my coaching program, I host a weekly online Mindful Writing Community, workshops and more. And if for some reason I’m not the best fit, I will happily refer you to other resources to help you on your journey.