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Someone very experienced and wise once told me that to be successful on the long, arduous, rejection ridden, lonely writer’s path requires that you stop and celebrate the little things, like times when your work resonates, or you reach a goal. SO, today I celebrate the completion of the first ‘shitty draft’ of my next novel, currently titled, Garden of Lies. Wheh!
In case you’re not familiar with the term, ‘Shitty Drafts’ it was coined by author, Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird) Her title comes from a family story. When her brother, at age 10, was overcome while writing a report on birds, her writer father’s reassuring advice was, “Bird-by-bird, Buddy. Just take
it bird by bird.” Lamott writes about the power and the effectiveness of first drafts, of getting ideas on paper just for the purpose of later intensifying, clarifying, and unifying them. For many writers, just as for Lamott’s brother, there’s comfort in allowing yourself to write a muddled first draft, knowing each subsequent draft will refine what’s already there. Lamott’s advice on “Shitty First Drafts” also reminds us that all first drafts are dreadful. Unity and, yes, genius come from revision. So, celebrate your first shitty drafts.
Abelour Scotch is my new celebration partner. Of course this celebratory mood will be short lived because now the real writerly work begins; the dreaded rewrite.
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By Miri Elm
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