I am currently writing the worst thing I have ever written.
Okay, that wasn't entirely accurate. Currently, I am writing a blog post, and you won't even read it until a day after my last keystroke. I'm referring to my most recent fictional endeavor. I am laying down the first draft of my Spec Screenplay for a writing competition, and it is absolute garbage.
This is my weakness. I want my writing to soar off the pages from the get go, and that's simply not how it works. I've often lied to myself, hammered out a short story in a weekend and called it a day, but the truth is simpler. You cannot write perfectly. There will be mistakes. And your first draft will be garbage.
If you read my blog regularly (thanks, mom!), and you learn only one thing from me in all that time, let it be this: First Drafts are always bad. That isn't to say there won't be nuggets of charming prose hidden inside the dumpster fire. It just means you should never be satisfied with the first attempt.
Your characters will still lay flat, no matter how many hair-flips or lip-bites you insert. Your dialogue will be Central Casting dreck, unfit for the pages of your future novel. Your themes will be a muddy mess. You NEED that second draft. And the third. And fourth. And twelfth.
Rewriting and revision are the parents of great storytelling. That is where heroes are truly made. It's where Han Solo went from being a space rabbit to a bad-ass, Han Solo type. So, in order to be a writer, you need to get over your fear of editing.
This is hard for me, but it may not be for you. In fact, you might be reading this article thinking: Wow, Adam is a little pansy. He's not even a man. He's just a duck with fingers.
Well, that hurts.
But for a lot of writers, at least in my own experience, rewrites and revision come at a cost. I hate killing off characters only to bring them back, and even more in the reverse. I suck at removing my favorite paragraphs, or dropping storylines that mean something personal to only me.
At the same time, I grow frustrated when my first draft isn't flowing as smoothly as I'd like. It's why I have so many drafts on my computer in the "In Progress" folder. When a story stops going my way, I have a tendency to just move on to the next story.
Had. I HAD a tendency. Not any longer.
Here is the challenge I've set before me, and one I issue to all of you reading this blog: No more half-finished stories. If you start it, you will finish it. I don't care if you end up with a pile of garbage in the shape of words. You will complete your first draft and you will save that file somewhere safe. Then, when you're ready, you're going to read all the way through. You're going to understand the flaws and correct them. You're going to rewrite.
If you want to be a writer, the most important step is to FINISH!
Now, let's get ready to write some crap.