Throwback (to first drafts) Thursday!

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?


6 thoughts on “Throwback (to first drafts) Thursday!

  1. Pingback: Don’t Just Throw Away Old Work! | words — and other things
  2. I don’t have to go very far back to find a first draft I think is terrible! The one I just completed has so many problems that I am not sure which would be the most glaring, but it is humbling or terrifying in its sheer quantity of issues. But, it is a finished, but amazingly, awful first draft.

    • Looking at the mistakes I make in first drafts tends to help me be aware I’m making those mistakes in the future. Not that it helps me stop making those mistakes, but I’m more aware of them! 🙂

      Nothing beats finishing that first draft, right?

  3. This is the reason I started outlining before writing the first draft. I didn’t want to deal with the awful way it looks and sounds and all the extra editing involved.

  4. Absolutely!!!! My most groan-worthy moment was a week or so ago. I posted on Facebook, to launch my new blog in support of a piece of fiction I’m trying to publish and one of my friends was very supportive. What caused the groan then? That she remembered the first book I wrote. When we were in middle school. About the Titanic. Oye. Sigh. I wonder what inspired that book? (Surely not the movie that just happened to come out that year…. that maybe I saw in theatres countless times….) Oh well. At least she’s still a fan. 🙂
    On that note, if you’d like to check out the blog, it’s at: Thanks!

    • I understand that! I had a friend start reading something and not finish because it was lower-quality-early-years work of mine. I cringe for the day I publish something and she’ll expect that lower-class work lol

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