First Drafts

Writing first drafts never gets any easier. Sorry, to be the one to break it to you. It just doesn't seem to matter how many stories, poems, essays, even novels, you write, that blank white page or flashing cursor never loses its power to intimidate.

But just because it doesn't get any easier to write flowing sentences or perfectly plotted dramas in a first draft doesn't mean the process can't be made more enjoyable. A simple change in the expectations you have of yourself and your writing may make the difference between suffering and celebrating.

Remember a first draft is an exploration, a journey. It is you discovering your story. It doesn't matter that the writing isn't perfect at this stage. When working on a first draft it is important to silence your inner critic. You'll need that critic later on during the rewriting process, but for now ignore that voice. I always give myself permission to be the worst writer in the world when I start a first draft. It helps free my creativity. I tell myself I can fix all problems in later drafts. That first draft is when I give myself permission to play. So the next time you sit down to write a first draft try abandoning your expectations. It might not make putting the actual words down any easier, but the time at your desk will feel more like an adventure. Adventures are exciting. And that excitement will infuse your writing with an energy it wouldn't have had otherwise.

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