I used to believed that all stories were written in one draft. I imagined writers would sit down and over the course of a few hours (days if the story was particularly troubling), they would hammer out a perfect tale.
My first attempts at writing failed miserably. The concepts were interesting, but I could never finish more than a few pages, before getting discouraged. I would labor for long stretches over a simple sentences. Punctuation and spelling mistakes had to be corrected, before I could move on. All this barred me from completing anything and robed me of any fun from the experience.
My “Ah-ha” moment came when I gave myself permission to be bad. I stopped worrying about mistakes and instead focused on writing out the story. It was liberating and I was finally writing. Not only that, I was finishing stories. Once they were done, I found it was much easier to go back and perfect them, rather than try to edit them on the fly.
Ernest Hemingway is reported to have said, “The first draft of anything is shit.”
He's right, but it takes fertilizer to grow something beautiful.
Frank Larnerd writes about monsters, mutants, and moonshine from his home in Putnam County, West Virginia. His second anthology as editor “Strange Critters: Unusual Creatures of Appalachia” will be released in the fall of 2013 from Woodland Press.
Find out more about Frank here.