Sunday, October 14, 2012

Productivity of Terrible Writing

First off, sorry for the lack of posts.  Life is insane with homework, sports, music, and church and I'm trying my best to squeeze my writing in.  As of now, I'm going to try to update my blog at least once a week.  Maybe more.  Who knows?  Life is typically unpredictable.

The idea for this post came to me right now as I sit here, working away on a much-disliked history paper.  I've never been a history fan and I do not care for compare/contrast essays.  Give me a persuasive essay any day...

Anyway, I realized this as I sat and, with much difficulty, tried to write the introduction paragraph:

I'm too much of a perfectionist when it comes to writing first drafts.

I'm not trying to brag by stating this.  It's true, and it's not a good thing.  You can never finish a first draft in a short amount of time if you're determined to make it perfect the first time.

I have to finish this paper by this evening because I have plans tonight, and this paper is due tomorrow.  Meaning, I only have a few hours to write it.  I have to be efficient, and efficiency is not maintained by making every sentence perfect the first time.  Because you know what?  Even when I edit-as-I-go, it's still not perfect enough and will need to be edited again.  Meaning, I just wasted a whole lot of time for nothing.

I just wrote a paragraph in two minutes flat.  I took my page of notes and typed out my thoughts into short, choppy, nasty sentences.  It's far from perfect.  But that's okay.  Why?

Because I'll go back and edit it later.  And it won't take as long as that "perfect" first draft would take.

The same is true with creative writing.  We have to let ourselves make the first draft terrible.  No matter how hard we try, the first draft will never be perfect.  Instead, we will have just wasted a lot of time writing a draft that will still need every bit as much editing.

It's easy for some and hard for others.  For me, it's incredibly hard.  But I'm trying just to force the writing out without caring how great it is.  Because the first time will never be perfect.

And it takes work to accept that.  To let go, and just write, without getting caught up with commas and adjectives and bland verbs.

That's what a second draft is for.

Abigail :)