Okay, so that title could really be misinterpreted. But let’s face it. Not many of us sit down and whip out a shining, sparkling first draft.
If you’re like me, that first draft is full of stinky, smelly, disgusting stuff. And I’m here to say, don’t bash the garbage.
I like to think of my first draft like a carrot (I know, I know, just stay with me a little longer). When you pull that carrot out of the ground, it’s all dirty and grimy. Then you scrub off the junk, peel off that rough skin and slice it up into delicious bites of sweetness.
So the next time you’re writing away and all you can think about is how terrible, rotten and ick-worthy your books seems, I want you to think of carrots. (Okay, so maybe that’s not the best visual. How about your nice, shiny book sitting on your local bookstore’s shelf?)
And here’s something else:
1. It’s okay to write crap.
2. Sometimes you need to write a bunch of stuff (that later you’ll want to delete) to get to what you really wanted to write.
3. You’ll be amazed what a change in verb, a tweak of sentence structure or a sharper image can do for a sentence.
4. Don’t despair, bad sentences can be fixed!
5. What you thought was awful at the time might actually not be so bad when you come back to it.
6. There is nothing wrong about writing a scene, a chapter or even a book (!!!) more than once to get it right.
7. A book of 60,000 words begins with a single sentence. (A terrible paraphrase of “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”)
So I’m guessing you don’t sit at your computer visualizing carrots when you’re wading through a tough passage. What do you do to keep yourself from getting discouraged or past those crappy writing days?
Picture by Josep Maria Peñalver