The “perfection” of first drafts

2017_january_firstdraft“Every first draft is perfect. Because all a first draft has to do is exist.

Jane Smiley

Love these wise words from talented author Jane Smiley.

It’s a new year, and you probably have been mulling over your writing goals (dare I call them resolutions?) for the year ahead.

What a nice way to keep things in perspective. After all, Smiley is right.

So, you’ve written your novel. Congratulations! You’ve succeeded in transforming your ideas onto the page, and, as we all know, that’s no small feat. I agree that the perfection of the first draft rests in the fact that you’ve done it at all. Yes, we all know that the tough work is yet to come. You’ll be editing and working out all the holes you’ll find in this first attempt. That’s what the editing process is about.

But what Smiley says is correct. All a first draft has to do is exist. You took your idea to completion and you got it all down.

There’s plenty of time for second doubts and worries about how to make things perfect. For now, take time to appreciate that you managed your first draft at all. When you type out those wonderful last words ‘The end’, take some time to be proud of your first draft and its inherent ‘perfection’.

Just because it exists.


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