6 vital reasons you should write a horrible first draft

Perfectionism, at least when you’re first putting words on paper or on the screen, hinders creativity and free association. You can—and certainly should—edit later. For now, have fun.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

My library of books about writing expands every year, but no author has shaped and affirmed my writing process like Anne Lamott.

In “Bird by Bird,” Lamott liberated me with these words:

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper.

I was already creating horrible first drafts, but I didn’t trust them. If I was a “good” writer, wouldn’t the words pour forth in perfect order?

Lamott taught me that my terrible first drafts are not just OK; they are necessary.

I pass her wisdom along to every writer I coach or train or advise, whether they’re writing at work, starting a blog, contemplating a memoir or simply keeping a journal.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.