Tag Archives: the writing process

First Drafts NEED to be F*cked Up!

Blog ButtonI found this picture on the BEGIN WITH YES Facebook page today and it started me thinking about first drafts.

Sometimes the single biggest obstacle towards completing a first draft manuscript is that overpowering urge towards perfection.

“I don’t want to f*ck this up!”

“Every word HAS to be right!”

“Oh my god, I better not screw this up!”

Gets to sound like a drill instructor after a while.

You remember that movie FULL METAL JACKET where drill instructor R. Lee Ermey totally warps the mind of a young Vincent D’Onofrio? Well – sometimes that is what a drill instructor will do to you. A drill instructor’s job is to you yell at you in a creative fashion in order to achieve a certain degree of learned instinct. Now, a drill instructor can be a useful muse – but you cannot let that urge towards perfection prevent you from completing what NEEDS to get done.

Just remember – writing is like sculpture. First thing you need is a big old hunk of stone or a mess of clay. That is all that a first draft is supposed to be. So don’t freak out and worry so much about getting the job done right. Put a little duct tape across that drill instructor’s mouth and just get it done.

Say it with me.

It’s just a first draft.

First drafts NEED to be f*cked up!

So get it done FIRST, damn it!

Just remember – nobody is marking you on this – and it is awfully hard to revise a blank page.

Remember – when you find yourself stuck fast two-thirds of the way through your first draft manuscript –


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon