“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts”

November 1st, 2013 by

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

Anne Lamott is one of the great gifts to writers. Her book “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” is a must-read. She has a way of embracing the imperfection of… well… everything and especially the writing process. That embrace is nowhere more evident than the quote above. Indeed she calls them “shitty first drafts.”

Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated.

In this series for the first two weeks of the Go On Your Own Quest initiative, where participants have typed FADE IN and started pounding out script pages, I have been focusing solely on one point: Get the damn thing [first draft] done!

There is nothing more we need read than Lamott’s observation.

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.”

“The Quest” has entered Week 16! And so did Go On Your Own Quest, an opportunity for anyone to follow the structure of “The Quest” to dig into screenwriting theory [Core – 8 weeks], figure out your story [Prep – 6 weeks], and write a first draft [Pages – 10 weeks]. It’s a 24-week immersion in the screenwriting process and you can do it here – for free!

Today and every Monday through Friday for 10 weeks, I’ll use this slot to post something inspirational as GOYOQ participants pound out their first drafts.

Why not use the structure of this 24-week workshop to Go On Your Own Quest? That was an idea that gathered energy among many members of the GITS community which I described here.

For more information on Go On Your Own Quest, go here.

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