Monday, March 30, 2009

A nice reminder

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I struggle with editing myself as I write. Here's a nice quote from Anne Lamott on first drafts. I've never read any of her writing, but this is something I know I need to hear. Other writers might need to hear it too. Not sure if any of them are here reading my ramblings, I assume not. But I will post it just in case. Besides, I can always go back and read it again myself if I save it here.

For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really s****y first drafts.

The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, “Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?,” you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go — but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.

And if anyone is here other than the folks I already know read this, say "Hi" in the comments. I'd love to know that this little outpost on the web isn't populated by just the three of us.

1 comment:

  1. Jarrett I'm totally guilty of doing this too. I've written a few screen plays and onto my first novel at the moment and find myself writing a few pages before going back over them and editing them. Cheers.