Oh yes, the dreaded first draft of a story. It's when we take the ideas swirling around in our heads, put them into words on pages, and see our stories come to life.
Writing the first draft of any piece is both thrilling and daunting. And it usually takes all of our willpower to write that first word, sentence, or paragraph.
But why is it so damn important?
Well, there are a few reasons. And the first one is that it lets you spill out your ideas, emotions, and thoughts.
Many people don't realize how much brainpower it takes for us writers to develop authentic stories. Or how many times we have to rewrite them before the true message appears.
And by authentic, I don't mean fact-checked biographies or cited academic papers. I mean, it's what is true for you. So what do you want to tell your audience? How do you feel about a specific topic? And why do you feel that way?
Because your readers will know if you're speaking from the heart or going through the motions.
But organizing your thoughts in a way that makes sense to readers is difficult sometimes. That's why I use Samsung notes to jot down the points of every piece I write these days.
It allows me to write it down before I forget, but without having to create an entire piece right then and there.
It also helps you figure out what ideas are good, which ones need tweaking, and which ones just need to be tossed out the window.
For example, if you're writing a novel, you might have a scene that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of your story. Or if you're writing an article and one of your points doesn't jibe with the central message of your piece.
Should you modify it? Or should you delete/save it for another story?
First drafts will tell you what is good, what is crap, and what can be repurposed somewhere else.
Another reason why first drafts are essential is because they provide a guide for your second and third drafts.
Maybe you like your draft and just want to buff and polish your piece. Or perhaps you've decided to burn it in your fireplace and start over. Either way, your first draft helps you.
You also get to learn more about your characters and plot. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser or have pages of filled-out character sheets, it's impossible to know everything about your story until you start writing.
I like learning new quirks and backgrounds about my characters whenever I write. So many of these moments occur as I'm writing, pleasantly surprising me most of the time.
As for my plots, I treat them a lot like life; you may have a plan, but something always comes up, either good or bad. And I think my approach has worked out for me so far.
But the biggest reason why the first draft is so important is that once you finish writing it, you'll feel accomplished. And more validated to call yourself a writer.
The hardest part about writing is starting. Because once you begin, it gets easier. You will develop a flow and routine, and new ideas will pour from your brain and into your fingers.
I've been doing a rewrite for one of my full-length books, and the most challenging part of each session is going to my office, sitting in my chair, turning on my laptop, opening the Word doc, and writing that first word.
And it can be like pulling teeth to write on this platform. Sometimes anyway.
But now that you know why it is so important to write the first draft, I hope you have some motivation to stop reading and to start your story!
And keep on writing!
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