We all start somewhere. Whether it’s on paper, a napkin on a train, on a computer or even just in our heads, the first draft is there. And it’s waiting to written.
One thing I’ve struggled with for my first draft is trying to get it perfect on the first go. I’m a perfectionist so this is a personal flaw of mine, but I know many others can relate.
Some of the best advice I’ve gotten that I applied in my writing came from my elementary school Art teacher who was ironically named Ms. Aerts (pronounced like arts). She always said: “Draw what you see, not what you know.” Which at the time she was referring to the need for a reference. you don’t want to paint an apple if you don’t know what they look like, unless you’re going for the abstract approach.
When it comes to writing, it’s very easy to want to twist something you’ve seen in another story you’ve read or to emulate your favorite author’s style. However, most readers appreciate originality. Write the scene that plays in your head. Write what you see, not what you know. I promise you, it will feel better when you see it for yourself.
Some of my best pieces have come from just sitting down and writing. It’s easy to get stuck in the planning stage of a story. I get it. It’s fun. It’s my favorite part. But you will never have anything on paper if you just sit around and plan. You may like the new spontaneous draft over the one that was planned out.
And now as I sit at my desk with even just one page written, I am more motivated than before to continue on. Take a minute to step away from your work. When you come back and still like it, you know you’re on the right path.