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On writing a first draft...

This morning, I shared one of my favorite writing quotes on Instagram: “The purpose of the first draft is not to get it right, but to get it written,” from John Dufresne. There’s a lot of reasons this quote is amazing, but what it comes down to is the idea that you can always edit a bad sentence, but you can’t edit a blank page.

As I mentioned in my first blog post, since I started toying with the idea of pursuing my dream to be a writer, I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety and imposter syndrome. There’s so many incredible artists out there that I couldn’t help but compare myself with all these other people and wonder how I could event attempt to be a writer. Not to mention those horrid thoughts like; ”What if it’s not good enough?” ”What if no one will like it?” etc. Most of the time, it felt easier to not even try than to face that I might not succeed.

Then I heard this quote and it struck a chord with me. I was so focused on the end product and what that might become, that I couldn’t even enjoy the beginning. That’s not to say hearing this magically made me no longer anxious or scared. It definitely didn't. But it’s a good reminder that if you worry too much about the future, you’ll never enjoy the present.

Every day I have to remind myself that writing anything is a triumph and with time and determination (and lot’s of editing), you’ll eventually get to the place that you want to be. It’s almost impossible to get writing 100% right the first time and that is okay! Writing is a process. The first draft if your time to shine. It’s where you can think up all of the cool and interesting details that truly make the story you're trying to tell special and unique. Build intricate worlds, really explore who your characters are and who they want to become, and just have fun.

I started writing "Dear Ella" in the fall of 2014. It took me until early 2022 to come up with a real manuscript. There are a lot of reasons why it took me almost eight years to write this book, but the real, honest reason is that I was working under the assumption that if I didn't get it right the first time, then I wasn't a real or good enough writer. Which is totally ludicrous! It was too easy to get caught up on whether each and every word was the right choice that I couldn't finish a chapter, let alone twenty or more!

I could write a whole blog post on dealing with anxiety and imposter syndrome (and maybe I will at a later date) but the point of this post is to make it clear that the first draft and the last draft will look completely different and that's the way it's supposed to be. That's the magic of writing. Writing is a journey filled with joy, fun, frustration, anger, love, and a thousand other emotions. When you're sitting down to write your first draft, all you need to worry about it taking that spark inside your brain and pouring it into your pen. (Or keyboard!) Believe in yourself and your story and remember that "the purpose of the first draft is not to get it right, but to get it written." You can do this!




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