Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

First Drafts are Lousy, and That’s Good


The author of today’s re-blog took 20 years away from writing because of how her first drafts turned out…

But, she did come back :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

julie-paintings Julie, with paintings she made while avoiding first drafts

By Julie Cole

Anne Lamott calls it the “the shitty first draft.” Ann Hood prefers the more delicate phrase, “a beautiful mess.” Whatever your chosen label, it’s that first version of your story or essay, the one James Earl Jones is so eloquently narrating in your head (even though what shows up on the page is a babbling toddler.) Why is there such disconnect with our vision and the elusive first draft?

Ann Patchett articulately describes the issue in her essay “The Getaway Car.” She refers to her unwritten work as a butterfly fluttering around in her head:

This book that I have not yet written one word of, a thing of indescribable beauty, unpredictable in its patterns, piercing in its color, so wild and loyal in its nature that my love for this book, and my faith in it as…

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