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29 September 2016
“Shitty” First Drafts
As with most people, sitting down to write any form of writing feels worse than going to work or doing the easiest household chores. I myself don’t truly hate to write. However, I just don’t write enough to enjoy writing or improve my writing abilities. In Anne Lamott’s article “’Shitty’ First Drafts,” she explains her feelings about writing and how almost all first drafts are terrible. She explains how writers don’t know what they are going to accomplish until they are done. Writing is not a pleasurable activity and blocking out the negative thoughts in one’s head is necessary so these critical thoughts do not interfere with work.
As stated above, Miss Lamott implies that most writers don’t know what their writings are going to end up being until they have written several drafts. She states, “The right words and sentences just do not come pouring out like ticker tape most of the time” (1). I know that when I sit down to write the task takes me a few minutes to decide how I’m going to start. When writing, I probably write and rewrite the same thoughts multiple times because I don’t know how I want to word my ideas. Anne Lamott is making readers see the reality of being a writer instead of how we as readers perceive writing to be. She expresses the struggles that all writers go through to end up with well-written papers.
The next point she makes in her article is that writing is not a pleasurable activity for most writers. Ms. Lamott gave the example of when she wrote food reviews for California magazine. She states, “Even after doing this for four years, panic would still set in” (2). She would go through all these horrible emotions before sitting down to write her first draft that no one would ever see. However, she would just sit down and let her words flood the paper and then go back and perfect the writing later.
Anne Lamott, as with most writers, is her own worst critic. When she sits down to write, she has to turn off the negative thoughts in her head before she could start writing. She writes that she goes through all these different stages or emotions in her head which she describes as characters. I think as a writer, or in any profession, on holds oneself to a higher standard than someone looking from the outside. I know I always look for reassurance for my work from my fellow associates and managers as I judge myself harshly.
I agree with Ms. Lamott about first drafts being horrible. As a writer, I rarely know how a piece of writing will progress. I know that not all writers get pleasure out of writing or enjoy blocking out the negative thoughts before they sit down to write. I feel that following Ms. Lamott’s suggestions is necessary to accomplish good work.
Lamott, Anne. “Shitty First Drafts”. Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. Ed.
Paul Escholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. 9thed Boston: Bedford/ St.
Martin’s, 2005: 93-96. Print.