Saturday, 15 June 2013

Time to write?



I think I shall write a new book: Procrastination and the art of doing bugger all, because apparently I’m the leading authority on the subject.

I have time, perhaps not in abundance but certainly an amount that some might label as “enough.” So what is it about the act of writing that makes it seem as if nothing less than the duration of a complete solar cycle is required to simply contribute towards an ongoing first draft? Why does this seemingly insurmountable task occupy some as yet undiscovered pocket of space time? Why can't I just concentrate and bloody well type?

Misery loves company and in the absence of company this misery sought some out. Turns out that this perculiar occurance is not uncommon amongst those with an affinity for arranging words into lines. Lisa Cron's article 9 tips for writing a really good "shitty first draft" gives plenty of useful advice on getting a headstart on your procrastination reflex. But no single piece of advice struck me more than this gem:

Don’t worry about the language or “writing well,” even for a moment.

Further into her article Lisa warns of the pitfalls of falling in love with your words. She says that all first drafts have plot holes, places where character motivation goes missing, dull scenes, clunky transgressions and unearned epiphanies. If you love every word on the page then fixing these problems will become even harder to do later on because you won't be willing to remove or change that which has been so lovingly established. The moral of the story? Spend too much time polishing now and you'll have to undo it all again later on.

Terry Pratchett once said: "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."

So there you have it. I have to learn to write badly, I mean even worse than I do now. I tend to edit as I go, I know that much about myself and it's a terrible habit that I need to relinquish quickly. A first draft should not, nor will it ever be, a masterpiece. It should resemble a blueprint of your ideas, a springboard from which the true content will launch. A terrible first draft may read badly but at least it's something and right now something is better than nothing.


Source: Writer Unboxed

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