Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The First Draft of Anything is Always Shit

A Quote from Ernest Hemingway

I figure if I am going to identify myself as a writer I need to associate myself with other writers.  So, I've been joining writers' groups on LinkedIn and Facebook in order to see what others are doing in the profession.

One of the first discussions I scanned started with this quote.  Of course, being a writers' group, the discussion focused on the editing and rewriting process.  I see the first draft as kind of a brainstorming draft -- getting the ideas out of my head and onto the screen or sheet of paper.  The editing and rewriting then refine that brainstorming draft, clarify the ideas, and make it so the reader can understand what I am trying to communicate.

I do some editing on this blog.  But since it's supposed to reflect what's in my head in a given moment, I try to edit with a light hand, only changing what is absolutely necessary.  If there's a bit of stream-of-consciousness in here, I don't care as much.  Now that I'm attempting to write for companies that want a particular style, I'm finding there's a learning curve involved in figuring out what is an acceptable product.

I also read Hemingway's quote and thought about its broader implications.  Many times I have tried to do something and it's -- to use Hemingway's word -- shit.  Just living life involves making so many mistakes, so many hurt feelings and broken relationships.  But it's not all depressing.  Thank God, I'm also given the opportunity to repent, to change the trajectory, to make amends.  That's the revising process in life.  And if I'm diligent, the end product will be so much better then the initial draft.

God willing, the final sentence in my story will be, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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