Specifically, it got me thinking about the myth that your first draft is the “purest” expression of your work, and that editing it will somehow compromise your artistic vision.
Of all the authors out there, Jack Kerouac probably contributed to this myth the most, since he publicly railed against self-editing, and the story of how he drafted On The Road on a single, giant scroll in only three weeks is legendary.
However, if you read the article above, you’ll see that Kerouac both meticulously outlined his book and had already written portions of it before that inspired three-week period.
Not to diminish Kerouac’s accomplishment in any way—it’s still impressive—but the truth is that “Writing is rewriting,” as the saying goes.
So true: I wrote eighteen drafts of my first screenplay—and it’s still bad!
This doesn’t just apply to fiction, either, or only to long-form writing. Our blog posts and even our emails can benefit enormously from getting better at self-editing.
If you could use some help with this, and you’re local to Tucson, AZ, I invite you to check out my colleague Barbara McNichol’s upcoming Wordshop on October 25th.
If you are a:
- Blogger, author, or journalist
- Business professional
- Administrative assistant
- Marketing copywriter
- Grant or report writer
This Wordshop is for you!
All the details are here.
PS: October 25th is a Saturday—before the
holiday crush begins and you’re too busy to
think about this. It’s also the last time
Barbara’s holding a Wordshop this year, so
don’t miss out!