The sluice of first drafts

Completed this past weekend: The first draft of my work-in-progress about the year I turned 15. About 61,000 words, a few of them brilliant. I should be thrilled, but I’m feeling quite demoralized actually. Because the first draft of anything, in the words of Ernest Hemingway, is shit.

“The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts. The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.”

~ Anne Lamott

“I hate first drafts, and it never gets easier. People always wonder what kind of superhero power they’d like to have. I wanted the ability for someone to just open up my brain and take out the entire first draft and lay it down in front of me so I can just focus on the second, third and fourth drafts.”

~ Judy Blume

“Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped.”

~ Lillian Helman


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