The First Draft is for You

Self-doubt is a thing.

It’ll creep up on you from any number of dark paths and try and convince you that the thing that you’re working on will never work. That it won’t ever sell. That you’re not qualified to write it, or – even better – that you are unjustifiably arrogant in thinking that you can get away with writing it.

“Who are you, ” it says, “to think that you can do this, and do it right?”

Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to silence those voices. I don’t know how to do that myself. But I can quiet them down by remembering what it was that got me excited to write the story in the first place.

I can quiet them down by accepting that I probably won’t get it right. Not in the first draft.

The first draft is for getting it down. Editing is for getting it right.

The first draft is for you. You’ve got this idea and you want to explore it, see where it takes you. You want to climb the trees, poke around in the caves, and roll around in the grass of the thing.

You’re going to get your hands dirty. Maybe you get a bit of oil on your shoes, or some dust in your hair, or some odd, alien stuff that turns a patch of your shirt purple and won’t wash out.

That’s ok.

That’s what the first draft is for.

And it doesn’t matter that you don’t have specific information yet. It doesn’t matter that you’re writing about people that aren’t you, and experiences that are outside of your own.

Editing is for getting it right. The first draft is for you.

Take that idea and run with it for as far as your feet will carry you. Go through the forests, or down access corridors. Make that jump to Light-Speed and see where you end up. Go so far and so fast that you can’t hear the voice of self-doubt over the wind in your hair, or the roar of the engines.

That’s what the first draft is for.

Editing is for marking where the mud pits, and the black holes are.


Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for excerpts from my stories.

Time: 10:22 am – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Skalds and Shadows