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January 18, 2016 / catherinebwrites



So you’re ready to write.     Your head is aflame with the fire of creation.  You write pages and pages, maybe  a chapter, a whole article, a complete story.  The words flow, ideas develop and suggest further ideas, just like a real writer.     You finish with a flourish and a sense of achievement.   You fall asleep that night with a smile on your lips.

Next morning you settle to work knowing that all you need now is to check for typos, insert the odd missing comma and maybe re-jig a sentence or two.    You read over your work and, horror of horrors, it’s no longer the glorious prose you wrote yesterday.   It is lumpen and dull and riddled with cliché.   The syntax is awkward, the similes childish, the metaphors miserable, there are gaps in the logic and even the good bits seem tawdry.

 “Who wrote this vile rubbish?” you cry

And the answer comes loud and clear

“I did.”


  • You decide that you’re been deluding yourself.   You’re not a writer.  You have no talent so you might as well give up now, before you make a complete fool of yourself.


  • You decide that  this piece is not really the one you wanted to write.   That you have another, much better idea  which you’re definitely going to write – one of these days.

The truth is you’re expecting too much, too soon.   The human mind does not work in an orderly fashion. It mind jumps about. It throws up ideas willy-nilly.   It works from chaos to order so it’s hardly surprising that the first draft is somewhat chaotic.    Writing is a process of clarifying your thoughts in order to write them clearly.   So the first draft is somewhat chaotic.   That’s fine.   It will improve with re-writing.

Once you realise that the first draft is always going to be rough you can relax.  Think of it as detailed notes/ research/inquiry and then you can let let your mind throw up all its ideas.   Later you can order and refine them.

The thing to remember is that the first draft is…


Don’t show it to friends and ask them to comment.  What do you expect them to say? You haven’t clarified your own mind yet so how can you expect them to understand what you want to express?

NEXT TIME: Some ways to approach the first draft.


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