Apr 5, 2011

D is for Dare to Draft

D is for Dare to Draft

You might classify me as a perfectionist when trying to write my novel, which sounds potentially good, as then the story would turn out amazing! But put bluntly, it's not.

Sometimes I feel fearful of starting that first draft. I become become afraid of imperfection. I am terrified of finishing, feeling successful, but hating my story. Or maybe I adore it, but it others don't think it has the potential that I see in it. This has happened. And this will continue to happen. 

And that's okay. A draft is a draft. It's meant for mess-ups and terrible writing peppered with cliches. It's supposed to have plot holes and way too many adverbs. Anne Lamott calls it in her book Bird by Bird, a "shitty first draft." You need the "shit" because without it you'll never be able to find it's true beauty.

My whole life, up until about age fourteen, I pictured perfection. I would have the best first kiss with the boy who I would spend the rest of my life with. Our lips would grace each other under the street light in the pouring rain. My first job would provide me endless amounts of money that I'd be swimming in it. My sweet sixteen would host a party worthy of MTV's show. I would have an extravagant wedding and then pop out two little kids like it was nothing, a boy first and then a girl of course. I would die of old age, peacefully in my sleep.

This is nice to dream, but it's not how the world works. When I hit high school, I was in for a harsh reality.

At first I was devastated. I hated wallowing in my room, drowning in tears like the world was ending. This earth was a cruel place in my eyes. You know those hormonal teenage years... Nothing of a fairy tale like it should be.

Yet, if life were a fairy tale, it wouldn't be nearly as fun. 

Without all the terrible events and lessons that I had to experience, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't have the experiences that allowed me to learn and grow. I wouldn't be adventurous or experimental. I wouldn't be open. I wouldn't understand the world like I do, right now.

I'm grateful for all the negativity, heartbreaks, back-stabbing friends, mess-ups, and idealized cliches because they helped me find the true beauty.

This life lesson is essential to your stories. You have to accept everything bad in order to find the good. Without the "shit," your story will never grow and find its magic.

So Dare to Draft. Welcome all the terrible things that could happen in your writing and suppress your inner critic until it's time to revise. Get out all the negativity now so you are able to find what you want underneath, the beauty, the magic, the wonder. Write that "shitty first draft" and eliminate all fear. 

Once you Dare to Draft, you will find happiness. And perhaps your fairy tale will come true.

About the A to Z Challenge: A challenge to write 26 blog posts in 26 days using all 26 letters of the alphabet. This accounts for every day of the month of April excluding Sundays. It's designed to encourage blogging, increase blog posting, and create friendships with fellow bloggers. Begins April 1st and ends April 30th. Join the friendly community of bloggers attempting this challenge, today!


  1. I'm exactly the same way. I really don't like starting the first draft (and end up re-writing it several times). I agree that you just have to write it to get it out of the way.

  2. Yep, you got to get in the game, too boring standing on the sidelines. Interesting post as usual.

  3. I'm a bit of a perfectionist too. I write character notes rather than plotting everything out and then write scene by scene.

  4. I agree with you there.

    You can't smelt out the gold if you don't mine the ore first.


    Thanks for the follow.