An Approach to Writing a Successful First-Draft
You can produce a working first-draft every time you sit down to write? It can be done. By adopting a simple practice that I mention below, you will become a more successful writer.
Don’t Be Afraid to Write Crap, Crap Makes Great Fertilizer
Here are some key points to keep before you begin any new writing project, they will set you up for success.
- Don’t trash your first-draft
- Don’t proofread your first-draft immediately
- Accept that your first-draft won’t be good enough
- Remind yourself that first-drafts are not set in stone
We’ve all done it, we’ve started writing a first-draft and then trashed it. Usually it’s because the writing doesn’t sound the way we hoped. We judge what we’ve written as if it were ready to publish. So naturally, at this point, the work is lacking. There is that part of us, that nagging voice in our head, that sends us a constant barrage of self-loathing. We may try to ignore the negative commentary, but our subconscious is listening. It’s all too often that writers succumb to this negative presence and lose faith in their writing. Losing faith could mean scrapping their work, thinking it will never measure-up, and that’s a bad decision. Now they’re left with effort applied and nothing to show for it except for a negative self-image.
The truth is, it’s okay if your first-draft sounds like crap. It’s supposed to. Don’t expect your best work from stuff that just spilled out from your head. First-drafts provide you with a framework to work from. They’re a detailed idea-board of the content you will be creating. First-drafts are not set in stone and they won’t win you a blogger of the year award. What the draft will do, is lay the groundwork or the road map, for something worth reading later.
Complete the First-Draft and Walk Away From It
Don’t read your first-draft until a little time passes. A lot will change from the moment you begin to write to the time you revisit what you’ve written. Take the time to clear your head. You will return with new insight, a different mood, and might even feel different physically. Those changes will influence the way you view your first-draft. If it’s a novel you’re writing, your first draft serves as the bones of your story. Your edits will include character development, scene changes, and even plot revisions because you take on the completed first-draft from a new perspective.
It’s only now, after stepping back for a moment, that you can approach your writing with a fresh set of eyes. You can now begin to sculpt that first-draft into the masterpiece it was meant to be. You’re a writer, and writing is hard work. Apply yourself to become better at your craft, completing your first-draft first is a good step. Walk away without proofreading or editing. Come back to the rough-draft refreshed and you will begin to produce higher quality content.
You can re-purpose your rough-draft to appeal to, and attract the attention of, your readers. Take the crap you shoveled out in the beginning and make it shine. Save the editing, refining, and reworking, until you complete first-draft and take a break from it.
Practice this for Success
Crap or not, your foundation has been laid, you are successful and that deserves some accolades. Reward yourself for what you have written. Rewards help us to create and instill habits. With consistent reward, you can trick yourself into producing usable content more often, and that will contribute to your success as a writer. Now start something new, write some more crap, and reward yourself again. Now you’re even more successful because you have amassed a stack of crap that you will turn into great content later. But for now, you have a lot to work with, an arsenal of fertilizer in fact. Great job!
Practice a system of reward for yourself and you will build a habit that contributes to your success. Reward bolsters your spirits, brings you joy, and relieves stress by providing you satisfaction and gratification. Positive experiences such as these attract positive results. When our spirits are lifted it changes our perspective of the world around us and makes us open to new ideas and opportunity, both of which contribute to increased success.
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By doing this you will start to love your first drafts, to anticipate with enthusiasm the prospect of creating them. Your crap is gold and you treasure it because it brings you reward. All of these positive experiences will encourage you to write more and your total works will increase. Increased amounts of content will attract new readers which equals an increase in success.
Love your first drafts because they are a work of art in motion and appreciate the crap you write for what it is. You’ll be happier for it.