First Drafts Suck… but ONLY in Retrospect

Everyone says first drafts suck. This is true. It’s just TRUE.


Do we really believe it? When we see people say, “First drafts always suck,” and “nothing good is ever produced in a first draft,” do we nod our heads, or do we think, I bet I could do it.

Is that ego unhealthy? Do we have a plague of egotism sweeping through the unlearned minds of new writers?

I don’t think so.

I believe that we NEED that ego to write the first draft. We NEED to believe that our book is going to be the most kicking-of-butts book in the history of books that kicked butts. If we don’t have our ego, we don’t have productivity. This is because our ego gives us willpower. When we soar up in the egosphere, moving forward is easier (because there is a lot less gravity up there0. As we deflate and fall, uncertainty and self-doubt pull on us with greedy little gravity fingers.

When I write something, I don’t think it sucks. I think, “Man, I’m like a Siren singing on the edge of an impossible cliff, tempting the words to swim from their depths of literary, thesaurus obscurity to the shores of comprehensible knowledge and artistic perfection!”

This is my ego hard at work. It’s normal for writers to experience an incongruous (if not exponential) levels of EGO when in the process of writing. This is for the very simple fact that self-doubt is the enemy of productivity, and ego is the savior.

From childhood and TV, we’re told that ego is bad. Be humble, be respectful, be courteous, and be cautious and meek.

To this I say, BAH HUMBUG on your humbleness!

You need a healthy ego to get through the writing process. The difficulty arrives in transitioning from ego-filled writing to self-critical-revision. It’s easy to slide back into self-doubt, self-chastising, and self-flagellation in the form of regret and rage.

A vital step in revision is keeping yourself on the objective, analytic, and productive outlook. If you fall into self-doubt, you will fall into failure.

So, when you’re writing your first draft, KICK ITS BUTT with the soaring power of your ego!

Let your ego soar up into the egosphere, but be prepared for a quick descent once you finish your sucky first draft.


One thought on “First Drafts Suck… but ONLY in Retrospect

  1. Pingback: Writing from Ego to Self-Criticism | words — and other things

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