Awful First Drafts

“Awful first drafts are fine,” Jamie Frevelentti reminds us. “Agree with this. If you don’t finish something, you’ll never get in the game. Just quell the voice in your head that says “Are you kidding? No one is going to want to read this drivel” and keep on going. You’re going to revise and revise and then revise again anyway.”

She’s right. But what I’d add, here, is that awful novels are a fact of life also. I used to joke that I wrote a million words of drivel before I wrote a single word that was good. I was right, in one sense: I did, in total, write two million words. I burned through three keyboards to do it. Unfortunately, however, every single word was utter and complete crap.

I wrote my first good words a week ago. You can read them here. Sports are a great metaphor for life as, when you’re practicing a new sport, you have to embarrass yourself. There’s literally no other way. To succeed, you must fail. Frequently, and awfully, on your face. Then you grow up, and people laugh at you outside the arena.

You can’t get anywhere, if you care about other people’s opinions. Writing any amount of anything, good or bad, requires not giving one single goddamn fuck. Fail spectacularly, over and over and over again! You’re still lapping everyone too cowardly to give their dreams a shot.