The TufFish Show

The power of the draft

 Sometimes we have this idea in our minds of what the writing process is suppose to look like and one of those preconceptions is that the idea flows and we have a pretty good first draft as a result. We might even have set ourselves up for loftier expectations by thinking we should have a complete and perfect version right out of the gates.

But that defeats the purpose of a draft and it creates unnecessary pressure and blocks to create that paragraph, scene, chapter or even the whole story.

When you give yourself permission to just go from a blank sheet of paper or blank Word doc with a blinking cursor to one that has something on it, you've created room for your creativity to flow.

Because it's not about flowing perfectly - it's just about allowing the ideas to flow through your mind and down on paper.

One of my developmental editing clients said it best, "I want to get the story out - the plot mapped out - first, then I'll go through it again working on the character development, showing versus telling, and if I need to go again, I will." From my perspective, I agree. This approach takes the pressure off to "get it right the first time" and permission to allow for change to happen.

Maybe characters will bump into each other and the world they are in and as a result, you as the writer might realize what you thought would happen isn't going in that direction, but something better is evolving.

Maybe the first pass you write is alot of telling, and just getting things out, and that is more than ok. If you're writing non-fiction, perhaps the first pass is getting your key points and messages down, but perhaps the stories you use to support them need to be refined to ensure they will relate to your target audience. This is good - in fact, it's great! It's hard to create something out of nothing, but that's exactly what you're doing when you write a story because you started from a blank sheet of paper and an idea.

When you view the first pass as you figuring things out for yourself, you are willing to take more risks, push your creativity, and even enjoy what you're creating. You'll also feel more comfortable working with an editor because you'll be receptive to their input and as a result, that will create its couple of drafts.

And even if you're not working with an editor yet, when you come back for the next round, you'll have fresh eyes and a new perspective. The space between each version - each draft - will help to strengthen your writing and create an even stronger book.

You are a gifted storyteller - your words can transport your reader to new worlds, new adventures, new ways of thinking, and even new mindset shifts for themselves and what they believe is possible. Your words are powerful for them, but also for you.

So going back to the beginning: are you embracing the first, second, or even fifth or sixth draft of your book? What are your thoughts about the power of the draft?

Be in the pond!

We're all works in progress, but your first, current or next book doesn't have to be.

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