Posted on February 11, 2019
First drafts seem to be a task dreaded by many. Your mind is just filled with so many ideas that you don’t even know where to start. In addition, you are probably thinking about how to fit all your points onto the few pages that you are limited to. However dreaded it may be, first drafts are a crucial step in the writing process. Without them, we would just be reading a bunch of thoughts randomly thrown onto a page.
Lamott’s “Shitty First Draft” discusses how important first drafts are as they lead to a better second draft and eventually the final piece of work. “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.” He emphasizes the point that it doesn’t matter how shitty the draft may be as long as you have something written down that can be edited. If you don’t start somewhere, then how is it going to lead to the completed piece? When I write, especially for first drafts, I just free write until all my thoughts are down on paper, then go back to edit. This being my method, I agree with Lamott points as my first drafts are usually messy and unorganized but at least I have something to start with. Furthermore, Murray’s “Makers Eye” also stresses the value of first drafts. She discusses how everyone from beginning writers to professional writers all need to take the first step in the writing process, a first draft. In addition to placing importance on first drafts, she also shares tips on how she approaches her writing with her seven elements. I especially like her approach on comparing writing process to self- discovery, as writers learn and grow about what they want to say.
When it comes to writing for me, I feel that being concise is essential as many people tend to go on and talk about unnecessary points that draw attention away from the focal point of the piece. This is a hard task to achieve as people think the more detail, they describe their backstory the better understanding their readers would grasp on their narrative, but it just sounds long winded. Another tip that I feel is important when writing is being able to accept criticism and to not let it prevent you from finishing your piece. As a writer you may be very protective of your piece but receiving another perspective on your piece can be beneficial. They may catch something you missed, or help you fix points that seemed clear in your head, but actually confuses the reader. When it comes to research papers, I believe that you should rely more on your own statements and back them up with research and evidence as opposed to just throwing a bunch of facts onto a piece of paper. This adds not depth and just makes it seem like no effort was put into the work as you are just quoting thoughts from another person’s research. Having research is important, but you don’t want it to swallow your whole research essay as readers can go read their essay instead of yours.
While the writing process may seem like a tedious and meddlesome task, it is important that they are taken to ensure a successful piece of writing. Whenever we think of skipping a step or two or basically taking a cheat day and getting to the finish line in one go, look back at these two articles. Writing is a gradual process that cannot be expedited.