On 'The Root of Non-Writing'

Shawn Blanc shares some interesting thoughts on writing first drafts:

To pull the curtain back for a second, one of the monsters I face as a writer is the fear that if the words don’t come out just right the first time around then there will be no hope for them after that. I wait to get started because I assume that if I don’t write something magical and clever as I’m typing it for the first time then I certainly won’t be able to improve upon it in the editing and re-writing process.

I’ll admit to experiencing the fear of the blank page. As a writer, I think it’s natural to feel afraid; starting something potentially great isn’t easy. Shawn mentions giving yourself permission to write a shitty first draft, to get all the ideas out of your head, because you can always clean it up later via revision.

My experiences with first drafts is unorthodox insofar that what I write in a first draft is generally part of the final work. In other words, what I write iniially is good enough to stay the course to publication. Of course I’ll go back and edit, but I go into the first go-round with the mindset that whatever comes out should be publishable. In fact, my long-form articles for this site are usually one-off affairs: I’ll write over a day or two, making minor tweaks here and there, but what I write stands. For better or worse, I don’t subject myself to a long critiquing process. Maybe it’s foolish and maybe I’m just lucky (or maybe I’m just talented), but I like to think I’m a pretty damn good first draft writer.

That screaming sound you hear is from every English teacher I ever had.