Saturday, December 22, 2012

write shitty first drafts.

I have just started reading an inspiring book by Anna Lamott, entitled Bird by Bird, some instructions on writing and life.  It is genuine writing that often causes me to reread passages, because they just resonate so close. Here is her advice about first drafts:

She says, write the shitty first draft, no one has to read it and most authors, if not all, start by writing a shitty first draft.  She goes on to say, "Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means.  There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you're supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go--but there was no way to get this without first getting through the first five and a half pages."

How true is this about life?  It seem  sometimes we have to go through five and a half pages of craziness just to get to the last sentence of the sixth page and find something that is so beautiful and wild that it gives just enough clarity, inspiration and direction to try again, to keep going.  It seems sometimes we just have to write, start, experience - that shitty first draft.  Life really is a journey, a process, a series of starts and craziness.  And like Anna said - maybe, just maybe, in the six pages of craziness there will be a simple sentence, a moment, that makes the craziness all worth while or maybe it is in the process of creating the six pages of craziness where we find beauty itself.

All I know is we have to start somewhere and for most it seems that start is in the shitty first draft.  Anne says you have to start and then refine.  I find so much truth, promise and hope in a process that allows for unperfected starting and calls for, requires, refinement, growth and development.  Life is tricky - but it seems sometimes you just have to put it all out there and go through the craziness to find your own beauty, wildness and direction.  To find what "you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means." This, this gives me hope.


Becka Hanan said...

That part of the book stood out to me too, Elliot! I appreciate your blog :). Keep writing!

EMILY STAR said...

it's my favorite part of that book too! :)