All stories begin with a first draft. This is where ideas, no matter how mundane or outlandish get put to the page. It’s where an author can begin exploring their story without the need for perfection, proper grammar, or direction. The first draft is usually not seen by anyone other than the author leaving it free from external criticism. While this part of the writing process can be a lot of fun, for many writers – both aspiring and professional – this initial draft is the hardest.
Although the idea of creating a draft full of spelling and structure errors sounds easy, the fear of failure can make writing even a few sentences a challenge. The thought of having pages littered with errors leads some to constantly edit and spend four hours on a single paragraph. Mistakes are inevitable and demanding or expecting perfection does nothing but stop a story from being told.
If allowed to be, a first draft can be a writer’s playground full of pure imagination and absolute absurdity. In order for this to happen, however, an author must learn how to control and silence their own inner critic. Listed below are a couple resources to help start turning the volume down on your internal editor.
Shitty First Draft by Anne Lamott: This essay Author Anne Lamott shares the continual challenge she faces each time she sits down to write her first drafts. She explains her unique ways of coping with the obstacle and her internal editor. By humanizing herself and other established authors, she explains to readers that the battle for the first draft is one experienced by many writers and is just another challenge to overcome in the quest for publication. Click here to read the essay!
The Most Dangerous Writing App: More of a practical resources, The Most Dangerous Writing App forces users to keep writing under threat of losing all progress. When using this app, individuals set the length of their writing session (either by time limit or word count) and then are prompted to begin writing. At any time during their session, if the writer stops typing for more than a few moments all progress they’ve made is deleted. If they get through their entire session without stopping, their work is theirs to keep. Click here to try!