I envy people who love to write first drafts. I do, I really do. Because I absolutely hate writing first drafts.
Now, I usually don’t like to use the word hate to describe my feelings because I think it’s a very powerful word. Just uttering the word “hate”, in my mind, calls up all kinds of dark forces and energies.
But I do hate writing first drafts. It’s like pulling teeth, but without the Novacaine. It’s like when you bump your elbow on something and you get that throbbing, electric shock of pain. It’s like someone pouring lemon juice over a paper cut.
Okay, perhaps, I’m going too far with the analogies. But, seriously, writing a first draft is painful for me. So painful, in fact, that I feel like I should join some kind of therapy group.
Hi, my name is Jenna Reynolds and I hate writing first drafts. I know I shouldn’t hate it, because hate is such a powerful word, but I do. I really do.
And everyone in the group, who would have the same malady, would say, “Hi Jenna, welcome to the group” and I would feel this warm, glowing feeling of belonging.
Because, you see, unlike some people, I can’t just breeze through my first draft.
Breezing is not what I’m doing when I write a first draft. It’s more like wheezing because I’m so amazed at the crap that I’m actually putting down on paper that I can barely breathe.
But you know what? I write those darn things. I work through my First Draftitis. I grit my teeth, I set my jaw, and I throw those crappy words down on the laptop screen.
The clichés, the trite phrases, the awkward sentences, the bland, boring dialogue, the flat characters, the less than evocative description.
Because, as someone said, you can’t fix a blank page.
And when that first draft is through, that’s when the fun begins.
Oh, yes. I love to revise, rewrite, rework and redo. That’s when I start to have fun. It’s hard work but that’s the part of writing I love the most.
It’s just getting through that first draft. And, well, it’s like with anything, I guess. Whether it’s writing a first draft or getting through a bad economy.
The only way out is through.