Movie Review : ' Shitty First Drafts ' Essay

Movie Review : ' Shitty First Drafts ' Essay

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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. I know some
very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal
of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and
confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but
we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that
God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest
friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you 've created God in your own image
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)
2 Very few writers really know what they are doing until they 've done it. Nor do
they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled. They do not type a few stiff
warm-up sentences and then find themselves bounding along like huskies across the
snow. One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to
himself nicely, "It 's not like you don 't have a choice, because you do -- you can
either type, or...

... middle of paper ...

...I had to do was to write a really shitty
first draft of, say, the opening paragraph. And no one was going to see it.
6 So I 'd start writing without reining myself in. It was almost just typing, just
making my fingers move. And the writing would be terrible. I 'd write a lead
paragraph that was a whole page, even though the entire review could only be three
pages long, and then I 'd start writing up descriptions of the food, one dish at a time,
bird by bird, and the critics would be sitting on my shoulders, commenting like
cartoon characters. They 'd be pretending to snore, or rolling their eyes at my
overwrought descriptions, no matter how hard I tried to tone those descriptions
down, no matter how conscious I was of what a friend said to me gently in my early
days of restaurant reviewing. "Annie," she said, "it is just a piece of chicken. It is just
a bit of cake."

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