Hemingway’s Quote

Posted:  February 17th, 2011 by:  daydreemer comments:  0

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
— Ernest Hemingway

It needs to be said that from an amateur’s point of view, that those few words are actually a very important discipline that needs to be learned, so you can actually get on with the job of writing and completing a story. The temptation to revise every line as you go along is there. Don’t do it. You have plenty of time for revision on your 2nd draft.

Even when remembering the rule, you will sometimes (as I still do) use revision as a form of procrastination when getting stuck somewhere in your story. When I reach a new paragraph, and don’t really know where, or how to start, I make a conscious decision to read through, and start to edit the parts that have already been written.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m still working on my story, and I feel like I’m making progress. When actually all I’m doing is buying some time until the magic happens, and a new idea appears, so I can get back to the actual story. The problem is, now I’m stuck doing revisions and concentrating on parts of the story that were already “roughed out” and down on paper. That isn’t moving forward…. its actually going back to where you have already been. You need to stick with where you are, and just let it come to you. Remember it doesn’t have to be “Hemingway” or “Dr Suess”, it just needs to let you progress forward. You can fix it later.

Knowing (and allowing) your first draft to be rubbish will let you get on with your story. If you write, and revise, as you go along you will never finish anything. It sounds simple enough, but trust me, its not an easy thing to do.

I still struggle every day.

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