Have you ever looked back at a first draft and thought wow that’s awful?
First drafts are like little beastly flowers. They aren’t much to look at, and sometimes they are thorny and typo-filled and ghastly in the evenings (that metaphor fell apart… or rather it wilted! AND THE PUN SAVES THE DAY!)
Failed fancy language aside, first drafts are often wince-inducing. Especially after we’ve gained some distance, fixed it up, or moved on to bigger and better things.
It’s always helpful to look back at our old work, though. It shows us how far we’ve come. It proves that we’re capable of improvement (even if it pokes at our ego like a sleeping bear).
One of my biggest mistakes in my first drafts are over-explanation and wordiness. A scene that should take two paragraphs takes two pages because every nuanced hand motion must be described.
This is something I still suffer from, but it’s easier to notice mistakes when we can point at a younger version of ourselves and say “What an amateur.” Finding those mistakes helps us become better writers, artists, musicians, mathematicians, and people.
What about you? Ever look back and get taken aback?
What’s the scariest thing you found in a first draft?
Have you been able to learn from mistakes or (like me) do you still struggle with them?