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The Big Picture

Posted on February 10, 2019

All good writers always have bad first drafts. It’s necessary in order to get the second draft, third and maybe even fourth drafts perfect. In “The Maker’s Eye” by Donald Murray and “Shitty First Drafts” by Lamott, the process that good writers follow is discussed. Even though there is a process, Lamott explains how, “Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.” Most people think that published authors instantly know what they want to write about right when they sit down to write.  But Lamott claims that this is rarely the case. She explains how the first draft is just an accumulation of random ideas. Lamott states, “The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out…” Both Lamott and Murray also discuss the importance of the writer detaching from their work in order to receive constructive criticism. Murray claims, “Detachment is not easy. It takes ego to write.” Writers need to be able to receive feedback to improve. Murray also explains the components that make a good piece of literature and the editing process. It is important for writers to look at the big picture and an important subject.  Murray explains how the writer needs to ask themself, “Do I have anything to say?” By picking a topic that he or she is interested in, the writing will be even better and more persuasive to the reader. Also that while editing, there is no correct order or process. The writer needs to just follow intuition. Tone is also important when writing. According to Murray, the “invisible force” of tone holds writing together. Even though writers go through extensive editing processes, the piece of writing is never done. The next day, the writer could come up with a new idea and add it in. This is what makes literature great. The amount of work and time put in ensures it.

Based on all the information above, there are some tips to make a piece of writing perfect. First, figure out the main point you are trying to prove and be passionate about it. This will make it even more interesting for readers. Second, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get the first draft perfect. Writing is a work in progress and takes time to perfect. Finally, make sure the tone of your writing helps convey your main point.  Readers need to be enticed to keep reading.


  1. Gianna

    I really liked your advice about keeping in mind the main point that you are trying to convey. I feel like many times, I get so caught up in trying to include a mix of writing techniques that sometimes the main point gets lost in all of the formalities. As I mentioned in my blog post, it can be difficult not to filter out some of the best and most creative thoughts when trying to make your writing sound “refined”. These essays were great reminders that sometimes a little raw creativity is a great way to begin a paper as you pointed out with the idea of detachment.

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