Write your first draft for you and the final drafts for your reader.

I have just read a Writers Digest article by Chuck Sambuchino where he makes the following two points:
1. Your first draft should be for yourself
2. Your second draft should be for your audience.

Writing any work is always a journey (one I believe never really comes to an end, even after publication). I often get asked how I write my poems and short stories by mostly women who would also like to take up writing. The first thing I always say and have always believed is that we write for ourselves. Often times an idea for a story or text will come about because of an interest, passion, hobby or experience we have. I am of the school of thought that believes the writer cannot be separated from the work (unless it is a ghost written piece but even then elements of the ghost writer are written in to the story). The first draft is the space to get out all the emotion and crazy ideas. This draft acts as a remedy almost or for a hobby or passion; it is that fix you needed to stop you obsessing over the idea or topic. By writing you bring the thoughts alive and then use the work as a platform to begin really telling the story in a way that is accessible for the reader.

When I begin to re – draft I always leave at least a week (probably more) before I return with fresh eyes and less emotion. Emotion clouds our judgment and makes us think things are good or necessary when more often than not, they are not. Telling the story in a way that best benefits the reader means that we need to start looking at the text objectively. We need to analyse the syntax, grammar and sectioning of the work; see if there is a way we can better present the work to get the message across better. Despite reading being a subjective act the big contradiction is that in order to get the best emotional response, you need to be as void of emotion as you can be when thinking about the best way to write.

NMx

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About Plantain Periodicals

Hello! Welcome to the Plantain Periodicals blogs. The name stems from the kitchen moments I had with my friends at university cooking plantain and planning our lives together. I have used this space as a window into my mind and the way I make sense of all my experiences through writing.This is where I share those conversations and moments that happen inside my head as a young woman growing up in 21st century London. Hopefully you'll be entertained and also learn a thing or two. My main blog ad: www.nissiknows.wordpress.com My literature blog: www.plantainperiodicals.wordpress.com NMx
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6 Responses to Write your first draft for you and the final drafts for your reader.

  1. Lisa Wields Words says:

    So often I think people write first drafts expecting them to be close to perfect, so that final drafts just need tweaking. I’ve seen that when teaching Freshman Comp at colleges. I tried to break them of that habit, telling them to turn in crappy first drafts and just get their ideas on the page. It is a hard habit to break, but embracing the idea that writing requires rewriting only makes us better writers in the long run. I write from passion for first drafts, and then try to keep that passionate momentum but add clarity in later drafts.

    • Spot on Lisa. Sadly I was at one point one of those people who thought my first draft was perfect. Finally after years of growth and stories that I had cringed to look back on, I have learned the lesson.

  2. Maggie says:

    I agree. It’s so important to take a break from your story so you can see it with objective eyes.

  3. Love this way of putting it. Very clear, very concise, and excellent advice. Thanks for sharing!

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