Shitty First Drafts

-This blog post is in response to a portion of Anne Lamott’s book on writing, Bird by Bird, entitled Shitty First Drafts.-

I want to start this off by saying how much I love Lamott’s style of writing. She manages to make a book about writing, typically seen as a boring subject, both entertaining and funny. She includes bits of her personal life and her voice can be vividly heard through her writing. I especially love her anecdote about her preacher friend and the quote “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.”

I am quite familiar with the idea of writing shitty first drafts. I do it all the time, though sometimes they wind up being shitty final drafts when I’m inclined to procrastinate. In the last year, I’ve written a lot more than normal. College application essays, scholarship essays, senior year class essays. Like Lamott, I stress and pace and procrastinate in an attempt to put off the writing, especially if I have no idea what I want to say. I cry and struggle to put words into sentences. Nothing makes sense and nothing is good enough. But eventually, I give up. I just type whatever comes into my head, vomiting words onto the computer page.

Most of the time, it works. Yes, it comes out of order. There isn’t a flow and the grammar is terrible. However, it allows me to make sense of my thoughts. Everything I feel about the subject is put down in a visual way. And somewhere, there is meaning.


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