Don’t Kill the Fun in Your First Draft

Don’t chisel perfect sentences into stone, or try to. That’s no way to write a first draft. Don’t even think that you’re writing; think that you’re dancing, or conducting a symphony, or chasing moonbeans, or soaping windows. Don’t be a slave to grammar or syntax, or even to meaning. Write to the sound of words, not to their logic – not at first. Be guided by rhythms, hues, textures, game theory, astrological charts, whim. Be bold, be devilish; be outrageous. Forget about readers; tickle yourself. Should doubts, misgivings, or disgust arise during this honeymoon phase, shoo, shoo them away. If they persist, consider the possibility that bride and groom (artist and subject) aren’t truly meant for each other. However you manage it, try, at this juncture, to have at least some fun.

—Peter Selgin, By Cunning & Craft: Practical Wisdom for Fiction Writers

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Kill the Fun in Your First Draft

  1. That’s a big problem for me, too. I’m currently trying out writing my first draft on a legal pad with a cheap pen simply to remind myself that first drafts are supposed to be, as Hemingway said, “excrement” (but we all know what word he was really saying in his head). Thanks for chiming in! Sending happy writing vibes your way.


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