Home » Writing Process » Your first draft is going to suck

Your first draft is going to suck

Read Barbara Kingsolver and you’ll be swept away by the poeticness of her writing. Her writing is so fluid and lyrical that it seems as though she painstakingly chose the placement of each and every word. As an author, one has to wonder how long it takes her to write a manuscript because her writing is just that epic. I once thought that her prose flowed right out of her brain, through her fingers, and onto the paper. Everything was close to perfection on the first shot. However, I could not be any more incorrect.

In this short clip, Barbara Kingsolver discusses her writing process and, shockingly enough, it was not what I expected. Her discussion made me realize that even a New York Times best selling author is going to have terrible first drafts. And that not all of her sentences first appear as gold.


8 thoughts on “Your first draft is going to suck

  1. It was many years ago that I consumed one of Barbara’s books, “Prodigal Summer”. But, I can still remember – as it seems most of her readers do – just how poetic her writing is.

    I like the way she explained how her thoughts just sort of splatted on to the page. It makes you feel like you should be wearing an art smock from those childhood days to protect yourself from klunky words being splashed everywhere.

    It’s refreshing to see such an accomplished author tell it like it is, and encourage us to do what we already know – write, revise, write, revise – over and over again, enjoying every single minute 🙂

    • That’s a great analogy, Dave. Thinking or writing that first draft as though painting a picture, splattering the words across the page. I am going to think like that every time I sit down to write now.

      Watching this clip made me feel less like a failure with my first drafts. It was very reassuring.

      I saw a fabulous quote this morning: “Write drunk, revise sober”. Not sure if I would prescribe to that though…

      • Well, to be honest – although maybe I shouldn’t *admit* it, I have written some of my best first drafts with a different kind of draft sitting next to my laptop 😉

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